CITIZEN WARRIORS by Stephen M. Duncan


America's National Guard and Reserve Forces and the Politics of National Security
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 An informative if somewhat self-serving brief for the various militias that augment America's professional soldiery during times of crisis, from a former Pentagon official who knows the territory at firsthand as a political minefield. In making a persuasive case for greater and more effective use of so-called weekend warriors in brushfire or weightier conflicts, attorney Duncan (an Annapolis graduate and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War) draws on his experience as director of reserve affairs under three secretaries of defense during the eventful Reagan and Bush administrations. While recapitulating in considerable detail the yeoman service organized auxiliaries provided in combat as well as support during the Desert Storm campaign, he reviews the contributions National Guard and ready-reserve units have made to US war efforts throughout history, from the Revolution's Minutemen through those who were called to the colors in two global conflicts. The author goes on to suggest how part-time GIs could better complement active-duty personnel pursuant to the Total Force concept that now constitutes Department of Defense doctrine. Addressed as well are deferments in the wake of unexpected call- ups; recruitment, retention, and resource allocation during a postCold War era in which the all-volunteer military is being downsized; the hesitancy of civilian leaders to activate reservists at times of national peril or need; Washington's concurrent reluctance to demobilize standby units based in politically powerful constituencies; and a host of other touchy issues. Not one to undervalue his own role in the debates of recent years, Duncan reprints a rather full measure of the memos and testimony he put on the record while helping make policy in office. This cavil apart, an enlightening introduction to an important aspect of America's security.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-89141-609-9
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Presidio/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996