From Cold War to Present Day

The Army Since 1945

The Total Force Concept

A 1987 white paper restored the reserves to a place of importance. NATO's strategy of "proportional" response to attacks implied that the potential of rapid nuclear war as envisaged in the 1950s and 1960s now yielded to a notion of conflict that would turn atomic only after a sequence of conventional battles that would give the belligerents time to mobilize their reserves. The result would be to reduce the Regular Force and to increase the Reserve Force to 40,000, with most of these places going to the militia. Emerging at the same time was the concept of a Total Force in which the Reserve and Regular forces would be more fully bonded and encouraged to interact. Developed in the latter part of the 1980s, this concept would have the professional and the reservist remain under their own service conditions. The reservists are not happy with this plan, but it is in the process of being resolved. Since 1991, thousands of reservists have served in the former Yugoslavia, Haïti and Cambodia.