Downsizing the U.S. Military, 1987-2015
by Bart Brasher
May 2000, 280pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-31467-4
$95, £74, 83€, A131
eBook Available: 978-0-313-03065-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A detailed examination of the downsizing of all four military services, including reductions in both human and material resources, and an assessment of the current and future effects of force restructuring.

Since the buildup of U.S. armed forces peaked under Reagan in 1987, many changes have occurred in all four services, including reductions in both human and material resources. This study traces these trends and details the government’s vision of how the military will look in the year 2015. Changes in the global security environment and pressure to decrease federal spending have resulted in force restructuring, eliminating major units, and displacing military and civilian personnel. Other consequences include base closures and reduced major weapon system inventories. Brasher discusses the implications of these new policies and assesses their current and future impact on American defense capabilities.

The media has focussed considerable attention on the downsizing of U.S. forces. It predicted that base closures would have catastrophic effects on local communities, and it warned that women and minorities would see fewer opportunities for advancement within the military. Brasher chronicles the effects of base closures on many communities and determines that original fears were exaggerated. Women and minorities have also fared better than initially anticipated. In fact, especially in terms of relative combat power, the new military is even stronger than it was in 1987.

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