Citizen Warriors: America's National Guard and Reserve Forces & the Politics of National Security

Stephen Duncan, Author, Duncan, Author Presidio Press $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-89141-609-8
An assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs under both Reagan and Bush, Duncan divides his deeply informed report into two sections. The first chronicles in great detail the process by which National Guard units were mobilized and deployed in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Duncan explains regular army antipathy to using reserve forces in combat situations, the congressional and public debate over the use of reserve troops and the step-by-step decision-making process that resulted in the mobilization of over 100,000 reservists to the Persian Gulf. Although most reserve units were trained in essential support services, a few units did engage in combat against Iraq, and Duncan provides examples of their fighting prowess. The book's latter half examines the development of the ""Total Force"" policy since the Vietnamese War, how reserves fit into this concept, defense budgets and their impact on reserve forces and the arguments for and against reserve units. The author concludes by listing 35 principles upon which future use of reserve forces should be based. He severely criticizes the Clinton administration for not developing a coherent foreign policy that clearly demarcates America's national interests. In like fashion, Duncan criticizes proposed plans to send reserve units to fight crime in housing projects, patrol our borders, aid in natural disasters and assist in other projects that, he claims, would undermine their combat readiness. Duncan makes his case cogently and with vigor, and his book deserves to be considered by every policymaker whose work impinges on our reserve military forces. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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