Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Thinking about where DePuy’s post-Vietnam rebuilding of the Army fell short

Everyone who knows the Army know that Gen. William DePuy played a huge role in rebuilding the institution after the Vietnam War. One of the arguments in my new book on American generalship (out at the end of this month) is that DePuy’s rebuilding, while magnificent, wound up focusing the Army too much on tactical ...

623098_121010_51MuRKL8dyL.jpg
623098_121010_51MuRKL8dyL.jpg

Everyone who knows the Army know that Gen. William DePuy played a huge role in rebuilding the institution after the Vietnam War.

One of the arguments in my new book on American generalship (out at the end of this month) is that DePuy's rebuilding, while magnificent, wound up focusing the Army too much on tactical issues. But last night I was re-reading part of the book (mainly looking for typos, etc.) and noticed a quote from DePuy that made me think he was off target in another way. "Wars are won by draftees and reserve officers," he admonished his subordinates. True in his time, of course. But not reflective of today's military -- at least the part about draftees. 

Everyone who knows the Army know that Gen. William DePuy played a huge role in rebuilding the institution after the Vietnam War.

One of the arguments in my new book on American generalship (out at the end of this month) is that DePuy’s rebuilding, while magnificent, wound up focusing the Army too much on tactical issues. But last night I was re-reading part of the book (mainly looking for typos, etc.) and noticed a quote from DePuy that made me think he was off target in another way. “Wars are won by draftees and reserve officers,” he admonished his subordinates. True in his time, of course. But not reflective of today’s military — at least the part about draftees. 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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