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American forces were in need of new weapons and equipment. The chastened

withdrawal from Vietnam caused a crisis of confidence in the active duty military, and

the National Guard had become known as a haven for draft dodgers while receiving

criticism for its handling of riot control duty.

After considering all of the nation’s defense ills and the impending debut of the

all-volunteer military, Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird announced the Total Force

concept in August 1970. At the heart of the initiative was the simple premise that the

Guard and Reserves would bear more of the direct burden for national defense. The

Guard and Reserves were to become the “initial and primary source” for reinforcing the

active duty military, with the National Guard continuing its tradition of primarily

providing combat units to the nation’s first line of defense. Secretary Laird directed

Pentagon staffs to apply his Total Force concept in all aspects of readiness, but the idea’s

application across the services was inconsistent.

Three years later, Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger furthered his

predecessor’s work by announcing the Total Force Policy. Schlesinger directed the

services to integrate their active and reserve component forces “into a homogeneous

whole” by implementing specific plans and programs to bring active duty personnel and

citizen-soldiers into closer concert. Under the Total Force Policy, the Guard and

Reserves were the initial, primary, and sole augmentation to active forces. The military

had achieved some progress in reserve component integration, but Guard and Reserve

units had not yet attained the readiness levels required for combat duty. For the Air

National Guard (ANG), the Total Force Policy called for the strengthening of the

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