Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1987


Staffing the Army

Programmed strength levels for the Active Army remained relatively stable during the fiscal year. The Army began to implement cuts in officer strength mandated by the DOD Reorganization Act of 1986 and the National Defense Authorization Act of 1987. The 6 percent reduction, to be completed by the end of FY 1989, would reduce Active Army officer and warrant officer strength by 6,975 and would negate the 11 percent gain in commissioned officer and warrant officer strength that had been registered between 1980 and 1985. Programmed Selected Reserve and IRR strength continued to rise, but actual strength did not keep pace. Civilian strength leveled off following a sharp decline in FY 1986. Total Army programmed and actual strength is shown in Table 2.



   Programmed    Actual
Active Army    780,800 7   80,815
Army National Guard Selected    463,181    462,143
Reserve    (452,681)    (451,858)
Inactive National Guard    10,500    10,285
Army Reserve    663,727    601,097
Selected Reserve    (327,600)    (313,638)
Individual Ready Reserve    (336,127)    (287,459)
Total Military End Strength    1,918,208    1,854,340
Total Civilian End Strength    412,200    417,889


Recruitment and Retention

In FY 1987, the Army's recruitment program felt the continuing pressures of a declining youth labor pool, an improving economy with attendant lower unemployment, and renewed calls to reinstate the draft or establish universal national service as a means of reducing military personnel costs. In such circumstances, the Army pushed forward with an aggressive program to attract the numbers


of young men and women needed to maintain the service at authorized strength. The Army also sought to maintain quality goals that it had established and met in the previous two years. These targets were the recruitment of at least 90 percent high school diploma graduates; a minimum of 63 percent in the top three categories of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Test; and a maximum of 10 percent in test category IV, the lowest acceptable category. The success of the Army's efforts is indicated in Table 3, which shows the results of the recruitment effort for FY 1987, as well as the figures for the FY 1985 and FY 1986 recruiting drives.

The 1987 recruiting effort, like that of the previous two fiscal years, was built around the effective use of multimedia advertising to reach potential enlistees; an expanded effort to tap collegebound youth through the new G.I. bill and Army College Fund programs; the judicious granting of enlistment bonuses to attract highly qualified young people into critical career fields; and continued emphasis on staffing the recruiting force with professional soldiers. This year's recruiting drive received a significant boost when Congress made the GI bill permanent legislation. Without congressional action the program would have expired in 1988.


(In thousands)

   FY 1985 FY 1986 FY 1987
Goal    Actual    Goal    Actual    Goal    Actual
Prior Service    6.3    6.3    8.4    8.4    12.5    12.5
NPS 1    119.0    119.1    126.9    127.1    119.5    120.5
Male    103.8    103.7    111.6    111.7    103.4    104.2
(I-IIIA)    64.6    63.8    69.1    69.2    66.2    69.0
(HSDG) 2    92.7    92.6    100.0    100.1    91.6    93.5
(HSDG I-IIIA)    53.5    53.8    57.5    57.6    54.3    58.8
Female    15.2    15.4    15.3    15.4    16.1    16.3
(I-IIIA)    10.1    10.1    10.9    11.0    10.6    11.3
(HSDG)    15.2    15.4    15.3    15.4    16.1    16.3
(HSDG I-IIIA)    10.1    10.1    10.9    11.0    10.6    11.3

1 Nonprior Service.
2 High School Diploma Graduate.
NOTE: Numbers may not add due to rounding.

But there were disquieting developments as well. During fiscal year 1987, reduced funding levels for enlistment bonuses and the Army College Fund threatened to hamper the effectiveness of these two key features in the Army's recruitment effort. Recruiting


violations, notably in Minnesota and New Jersey, involved irregularities, such as falsifying test scores, permitting surrogates to take entrance exams for applicants, forging high school diplomas, and ignoring criminal charges in the records of potential recruits. These offenses tarnished the recruiting force's otherwise solid accomplishments during the year.

The Army dropped N. W. Ayer, Inc., its advertising agency for the past nineteen years, in the wake of accusations of improper timekeeping and subcontracting by the firm. In January 1987 the Army signed a contract with the Young and Rubicam agency for print and broadcast advertising to include recruitment in the Army, the Army Reserve, and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). The contract, which costs about $100 million, includes annual renewable options through FY 1991.

Officer Accessions

The Army planned to induct 9,013 commissioned and warrant officers to maintain a budgeted end strength objective of 109,757. To meet FY 1987 congressionally mandated officer strength reductions (1,635 Army spaces), the Army limited the number of actual accessions to 8,139 and offered early outs to selected lieutenants and captains. The Army also reduced the number of officer positions, primarily from the nontactical/support base, the foundation of the Army's ability to sustain, train, mobilize, and move to a wartime footing.

ROTC continued to serve as the primary source for officer accessions in the Army. Senior ROTC enrollment increased slightly and graduates receiving commissions numbered almost 8,300, enough to meet Active Army needs, but insufficient to overcome the shortfall in the reserve components. Officer accessions in the Active Army for FY 1986 and FY 1987 are shown in Table 4.

Stability and Cohesion

Implementation of the New Manning System, which was created to increase combat effectiveness by reducing turbulence and enhancing cohesion, progressed during the year. The system is composed of COHORT (cohesion, operational readiness, and training units [traditional and sustained]), a unit replacement system (supplemented by the existing individual replacement system) designed to achieve stability and cohesion, and a regimental system to enhance cohesion and esprit.



   FY 1986 FY 1987
Programmed    Actual   Programmed    Actual
Basic Branch    6,000    6,040    5,700    5,214
Chaplain    123    143    160    131
Judge Advocate General's Corps    167    154    190    152
Medical Corps    464    501    530    435
Dental Corps    189    132    150    102
Veterinary Corps    35    37    50    48
Army Nurse Corps    583    536    550    537
Army Medical Specialist Corps    45    38    50    47
Medical Service Corps    471    445    570    437
Total Commissions    8,077    8,026    7,950    7,103
Warrant Officers    1,396    1,125    1,265    1,036
Total Officers    9,473    9,151    9,215    8,139

Under COHORT regimentally recruited groups of first-term enlistees undergo initial entry training as a unit. Then they report as a unit to a U.S. Forces Command (FORSCOM) installation to join a company level cadre of leaders for a stabilized three year unit life cycle. The units complete collective training and remain in FORSCOM for 18 months if deploying to a long-tour area, such as Europe; for 24 months if the unit's assignment is to a short-tour area, such as Korea; or for 36 months if the unit does not have an overseas assignment. Upon completion of its overseas tour, the COHORT unit is replaced by another unit deployed from the continental United States. COHORT units had deployed overseas (11 to Europe, 7 to Korea, and 1 to Alaska) by the close of FY 1984. Initial assessments suggest that keeping first term soldiers and their leaders together for a three-year period establishes a greater sense of cohesion, belonging, and unit pride between soldiers and leaders. COHORT units displayed higher personnel stability, lower attrition rates, and higher skill qualification test scores than the norm generally applied to Army units. During FY 1987, the Army planned to increase the number of COHORT company- and battery-size units from 76 to 77 and to reorganize 13 battalions as COHORT units.

The U.S. Army Regimental System is based on groupings of similar battalions under one regimental flag or "color." The 64 regiments authorized under the system are nontactical organizations.


They play a vital role in fostering cohesion, esprit, and identification by providing soldiers with a regimental home throughout their military service. By the close of FY 1984, the Army had designated 15 regiments. Additional designations were not expected until a review of the system, begun in January 1985, was completed and the Army Chief of Staff, General Wickham, made a decision regarding the future of the program to return combat arms regiments to the Army.

Quality of Life

Quality of Life benefits involve programs, facilities, and services that improve the living and working conditions of soldiers and their families. Quality of Life issues run the gamut from physical fitness programs to family support services, from recreation activities to the Army's commissary program, and from family housing to dining facility construction and modernization. The success of the Army's Quality of Life initiatives bears directly on job satisfaction, esprit, and the Army's ability to attract and retain quality soldiers.

Family Support Services were enhanced during the fiscal year by lowering the grade level at which employment preference could be given to family members of active duty military personnel in filling DOD jobs at home and overseas. Reserve component members and their families began enjoying commissary privileges in March, and the Dependent Dental Insurance Plan went into effect in August. The Family Child Care Program continued to grow, and by the end of the fiscal year 6,659 homes were registered under the program.

Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) funded activities, such as physical fitness, library, and child development services, which continued to receive strong support. Activities supported largely by nonappropriated funds (NAF) generated by sales to soldiers and their families, including youth centers, hobby shops, clubs, and bowling centers, were beset by a loss of revenues due to lagging sales of liquor at post stores. To increase NAF revenues to support these services, the Army's Community and Family Support Center developed a lottery plan that would be tested overseas and would offer a top prize of $25,000. The plan was dropped in March 1987 as a result of public outrage and insufficient congressional support.

Family housing gains during the year included upgrading 453 substandard units into 340 adequate units, constructing 3,022 new housing units (558 in Europe, 2,338 in the continental United States [CONUS], and 126 in Kwajalein), and building 108 mobile home spaces. Build-to-lease and rental guarantee programs, which


were approved in FY 1984 to provide additional housing at CONUS locations, moved forward during the year. The Section 801 program was extended to two years, and 1,000 more units were approved. The Section 802 program was modified and extended for four years, and 600 additional units were approved.

Women and Minorities

Since 1972 the Army has been trying to increase career opportunities for women. The number of women in the Army has increased from 4,200 officers and 8,300 enlisted soldiers in FY 1970 to about 10,200 officers and 66,700 enlisted solders. Current plans call for increasing the number to approximately 13,100 officers and 69,300 enlisted soldiers by the end of FY 1989. Reserve component figures show the same trend: 6,950 women officers and 37,700 enlisted soldiers comprise over 16 percent of USAR strength, while 2,697 women officers and 22,622 enlisted soldiers make up 6 percent of the ARNG's strength.

Under the Direct Combat Probability Coding policy, women soldiers may not be assigned to jobs in units that routinely would engage in direct combat with the enemy. The policy excludes women from 49 of 351 military occupational specialties (MOSS).

Racial and ethnic minorities compose one-third of today's Army. This represents a slight decrease as compared to the recent past, but indicates a trend toward bringing the Army's composition more in line with the makeup of the general U.S. population. Recognizing that soldiers' confidence in their peers and leaders, and the basic fairness of the Army as an institution, are vital elements of readiness, the Army pursued a vigorous equal opportunity program. During FY 1987 the Army leaders focused on providing fair and equitable treatment for all its personnel.




Go to:

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

Return to Table of Contents

Search CMH Online
Last updated 17 November 2003