Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1972



In fiscal year 1972 the Army, as this report reveals, was rapidly phasing out of the Vietnam War and turning its attention to postwar and peacetime operation. As the war wound down, a broad effort was under way to stabilize the Army, overcome the lingering problems raised by the conflict, and step off with a revitalized professional force built upon a volunteer foundation-one providing an improved institutional environment for its members and holding the confidence and respect of the nation.

A process of normalization was evident along many lines. Over the past several years there had been adjustments in long-standing American commitments that brought some Army troops home from Europe and Korea. In the past year this process was continued as major forces returned from Southeast Asia and appropriate adjustments were made throughout the Pacific region. The reversion of the Ryukyu Islands to Japan closed out an Army responsibility there as well.

There were corresponding modifications within the departmental headquarters, where recent realignments moved volunteer Army and Army surveillance, target acquisition, and night observation (STANO) management out of executive levels and back onto functional staff channels. At the same time, international agreements curtailed the Army's antiballistic missile and biological warfare programs, and the over-all civil defense operating responsibility, held by the Secretary of the Army for about nine years, was shifted back to the Secretary of Defense.

In the decade that has passed since the Army underwent a major reorganization, there have been marked changes in organizational and managerial situations. These developments led to the appointment by the Secretary of the Army of a Project Manager for Reorganization to develop and manage a program to improve the organization of the Army at the major command and higher headquarters staff levels. The resultant series of major actions taken in 1973 to modernize, reorient, and streamline the Army's continental United States organization will be covered in next year's report.

The close of the year saw Army personnel and divisional strength below the goals that had been planned for a post-Vietnam force. The Army's task in fiscal year 1973 would be to continue and hopefully complete the withdrawal from Vietnam, reach authorized levels of postwar strength in personnel and major units, and achieve a stable force of volunteers within the fiscal limits set by higher authority.



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Last updated 27 August 2004