Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1978



In stressing force readiness, the Army was aware that the next war might well be the most lethal, intense, and complicated war in its history. The logical opponent would be the members of the Warsaw Pact, whose forces are formidable both in quantity and quality. Although the Army could not hope to match the foe in Europe, it did attempt to provide its troops with the best organization, training, and equipment available and to sustain a credible margin of readiness to deter open warfare.

In an era of spiralling inflation, the Army had to make hard choices over the distribution of funds and resources. Although Europe received first priority, the Army had to maintain forces in other areas at home and abroad.

Among the gravest problems the service faced this year were retaining trained personnel in the active Army and attracting high-caliber recruits to the reserve components. The volunteer system obliged the Army to rely on a high degree of leadership at senior and junior levels and financial and personal incentives to compete with the civilian world. Despite strong efforts to improve the quality of service life, the personnel outlook was unlikely to alter greatly in the near future unless there was a crisis or the draft was reinstated.

Internally, the Army sought to bolster control over its resources through better management, greater use of computers and other automated equipment, and doctrine that would permit the best use of assets while preparing for the changes the next decade will bring. The Army conducted a vigorous planning, research, and development program to fulfill these goals.

Some logistical shortages were reduced, but the constant introduction of new weapons, equipment, and vehicles reflecting technological advances was bound to create new shortages to replace the old. Obsolete items were replaced as funds permitted. As long as there are no serious stock imbalances, the Army will maintain a relatively sound peacetime logistical position.

Looking back, the fiscal year was much like its predecessor. The Army continued strengthening its internal structure, reducing waste and duplication, and concentrating on force readiness. Under the circumstances it made marked improvements in many areas. Prospects for the future, however, were not altogether optimistic. Many basic problems defied easy solutions, and had to be referred to higher levels.



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Last updated 7 September 2004