Historical Services Division Products
The Historical Services Division (HSD) of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) provides historical products, analysis, and synthesis for senior leaders, planners, action officers, and decision makers in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, major commands, and other government agencies, within the limits of current resources. It also develops relationships with senior leaders and key staff at DA level and in the joint arena to better anticipate requirements for historical analysis. HSD also supports the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) curriculum development and execution by providing history-based curricular advice and support. HSD products rely primarily on the unique archival holdings at USAHEC.
U.S. Readiness for the Korean Conflict
Task Force Smith at the beginning of the Korean War has often been used as a metaphor for military unreadiness. While the story of that first US action of the war provides a timeless cautionary tale for commanders, the story of unreadiness for war in June 1950 went much further than the tactical failures of one infantry battalion. The lack of readiness was caused by a very disruptive interwar period that saw drastic and often chaotic changes to Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities and Policy (DOTMLPF-P).
This case study examines the political, economic, military, and strategic environment in the years between 1945 and 1950 to illustrate the complexity of the readiness issue. Readiness in the strategic context concerned many more issues than simply personnel status or equipment availability. While examining the reasons for unpreparedness at the beginning of the Korean War, one must consider four questions.
History of the Army's Future: 1990-2018 (v. 2.0)
The establishment of Army Futures Command (AFC) in August 2018 was the most significant change to the Institutional Army in a generation, and it signaled the value the Army placed on studying the future. While the establishment of a new four star headquarters might be seen as a bold move, it was in reality the culmination of 30 years of future development in the Army. Those three decades saw the development of numerous structures designed to examine the potential for future concepts and technology, with uneven success. The processes were good, but technological overreach, and over 20 years of war in the Middle East, doomed most efforts to put useful concepts into practice. Army visionaries such as Generals William E. DePuy and Donn A. Starry had planned for the future as early as the 1970s with an eye on the past, and initiated the programs and doctrine necessary to transform and modernize the Army following Vietnam.
Learning the Lessons of Lethality: The Army's Cycle of Basic Combat Training, 1918-2019
This study analyzes the initial entry training programs for Army inductees for the last 100 years, to identify the patterns that have shaped that training. Technology has changed over the years, and training has adapted, but technological change has been a less important factor than the oscillation between wartime and peacetime methodologies. Changes in technology have not changed the core functions in which the Army trains its new Soldiers: lethality and survivability. The unvarying trend for the last century shows an increase in lethality and survivability skills after the nation enters combat, often learning harsh lessons. As soon as the conflict ends, however, the training emphasis reflexively moves back toward garrison-type activities. The length of initial entry or Basic Combat Training (BCT) has also waxed and waned over the years, ranging from as long as 17 weeks (1943) (not including OSUT) to as short as 8 weeks (1980). There were always external factors that affected the amount of training time available, such as budgets, force structure, institutional infrastructure, and end strength. This study focuses largely, however, on how the Army used the time allotted. The analysis focuses primarily on infantry skills, but also examines other training where necessary for clarity. (Non-infantry, especially sustainment MOSs, have traditionally received less marksmanship training.) The unifying concept is that all initial entry training categories have remained the same for Soldiers throughout the period, while time spent on each category has fluctuated. Soldiers received different training in specialties.
Riding the Hydra: How the Army Enterprise Went to War, 2001-2007
The history of the U.S. Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom is replete with tactical and operational studies, and the shifts in strategy are well documented. The Chief of Staff of the Army's (CSA) official study, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War, provides an excellent analysis of the operational level of war. "Riding the Hydra," however, examines the institutional Army, specifically the Army staff, and its efforts to prepare the Army for war.