Army Chemical Review


Army Chemical Review presents professional information about Chemical Corps functions related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, smoke, flame, and civil support operations.

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Our current situation mirrors that faced by the Army and the U.S. War Department beginning in the winter of 1918. We would be well served to review the history and events of the interwar years, from 1920 to 1940, as we prepare to confront many of the same challenges faced by our forebears. The current Army focus for force structure and operational planning is Army 2020. Staff offcers at all levels are busily churning out projections and plans across the force in an attempt to understand the threat scenarios that we may potentially face throughout the next 7 years. Others are working to structure the future force to defeat those threats—and then to resource that force with properly trained personnel and the This World War I offcer's tunic bears the standard blue and right equipment to fght and win America's wars. The yellow shield of the CWS and a set of French-made CWS offcer Chemical Corps will likely continue the struggle to crossed retorts. ensure that the Army has the right chemical, biological, Like today, the Army of the interwar years placed renewed radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) capabilities in the active emphasis on refning doctrine, making limited investments in force; properly trained personnel at all levels; and the ability to surge resources from the Reserve Component in the event new technology, and providing structured training for Army of contingency requirements. As was the case with Charles personnel. The interwar Army made use of extension courses Clifford, we will need to rely heavily on our ability to reach to ensure that Reserve Component personnel could access the out to citizen-Soldiers with the right skills—and to bring them most current training. In spite of the directed mass exodus of into the Army to support requirements for specifc technical veterans from Active Army service following World War I, the expertise. We will also need to ensure that those individuals Army created and facilitated personnel management systems have access to the training necessary for them to retain their that allowed those skilled veterans to return to their civilian technical and leadership skills while they are out of uniform vocations while remaining linked to their technical military and pursuing their civilian vocations. Much of that training felds. will be in the form of distributed learning. As we juggle the transition ahead, we must learn from our collective history. We must take a look at the innovative techFollowing World War I, the War Department sought to rapidly reduce the Active Army from its wartime peak of niques that our predecessors employed to maintain a credible almost 3.7 million fghting men back to its prewar strength of force in spite of manpower and resource constraints. about 200,000.4 As the Army executed this massive reduction in strength and capabilities, the architects of the National Defense Act of 19205 sought to retain an active military force that possessed all of the capabilities necessary to respond to national emergencies. Those who were charged with the Army restructuring a century ago recognized the need for a complete Regular Army force that was capable of rapidly acting to defeat the Nation's enemies and protect critical interests; however, Army planners rejected the idea of an "expansible Regular Army." After studying the concept in great detail, the Army staff could not support the notion of an Active Army force that was missing key structural elements, such as the supporting arms and services. Instead, the offcers focused on the three component structures that we recognize today, with the intent that—while the Regular Army could independently engage in combat operations on a smaller scale—it would share the burden of future, major national emergencies with the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves.6 In the same way that the Army reached out for the CWS Reserves during World War II, we will need to be able to reach out to Soldiers who have recently left the Army. We must maintain our existing connections with those Soldiers and learn to leverage their combined military and civilian talents in case they are needed in the future. 14 Endnotes: 1 Record for Charles W. Clifford (1917–1918), "World War I Draft Registration Cards," , accessed on 3 January 2013. 2 Science, Vol. XLIX, The Science Press, New York, January–June 1919. 3 CWS weapons bars were awarded for maintaining profciency with CWS weapons such as the fame thrower and 4.2-inch chemical mortar. 4 Richard W. Stewart, editor, American Military History: The United States Army in a Global Era, 1917–2003, Vol. II, Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., 2005, p. 21. 5 National Defense Act of 1920, 4 June 1920. 6 Ibid, p. 57. Colonel Riley is a CBRN offcer currently serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Training (G-3), Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from The Citadel, South Carolina; a master's degree in international relations from Troy State University (now Troy University), Alabama; and a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Army Chemical Review

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