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Citizen soldiers are key to Pentagon's future

from The Washington Examiner

They didn't call him "Tricky Dick" for nothing — and Melvin Laird knew it. The Wisconsin congressman knew what he was getting into when President Nixon tabbed him as secretary of defense. Laird would have to wind down an unpopular war and thread the needle among a paranoid White House, a restive Congress and a powerhouse personality known as Henry Kissinger. It was Laird who introduced the idea of the "total force." Previously, the National Guard and the reserves had been mere afterthoughts in the Pentagon — underfunded, underequipped, and ill-prepared to do much more than gather on weekends for parades and barbecues. more


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