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The Army and the Guard


The United States Armed Forces have never counted efficiency among their many strongpoints, and their newly revised Reserve Forces Act does very little to remedy these rather regrettable inadequacies. As the reserve forces situation now stands, there is an almost complete duplication of the Army Reserve by the National Guard, and the general air of compromise and confusion surrounding the recent changes in the Reserve Forces Act is indicative of more inefficiencies to come.

While it is probably desirable for a young man of draft age to have a certain amount of freedom in choosing the manner in which he will fulfill his military obligation, there is no need for two organizations which offer almost indentical programs. After October sixth, there will be but one minor difference to distinguish the Army Reserve from the National Guard. The Army has succeeded in eliminating the Guard's so-called "draft-dodging" aspects and reduced the Guard to nothing more than the Army's image. The Army, unfortunately, may now be prone to gaze admiringly, and let the matter rest.

Rather than let it do so, the government should act to combine the two into a single Army Reserve which can build up to the nation's total authorized reserve strength in one body. Such a move would eliminate the duplication of personnel and processes which are inevitable under the new system.

Although there is a strong pro-Guard lobby force in Washington which argues for the continuance of the Guard on the basis of something which sounds a bit like states' rights sentimentality, it would be in the best interests of a unified, well-coordinated reserve program to eliminate the state Guard groups.

However, in the interests of uniform military requirements and in order to keep the confusion which normally surrounds enlistment opportunities at a minimum, this program should be adopted as a permanent part of our military system, unless it is to become merely an emergency measure for the remedying of a temporary reserve crisis. Since the basic purpose behind the six-month program does not appear to be of this temporary nature, any move to transform it would be unwise.

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