History

Organizational Structure of the US Army

This essay will examine the organizational structures of the United States Army and examine how these structures have influenced the army’s performance both in the actions it has taken to help maintain America’s freedom and the freedom of citizens around the world. The Army, the land-based component of the American armed services, traces its origins back to the Continental Army that was founded by George Washington in the years before America won its freedom from the British. After fighting as a group in the War of 1812, the Army spent many decades helping to open up the West for American settlers and fighting skirmishes with Natives. The biggest crisis in the history of the Army was probably the American civil war which saw brother turn against brother and huge losses on both the Confederate and Union side. Many of the best generals in the Army, like Robert E. Lee fought on the Confederate side, and after the war, a lot of work was required to repair the rift within the Army between the North and South. The Army had big successes, fighting valiantly, in the first and second world wars, and becoming the most powerful army in the world following this second conflict. It was able to fight victorious wars on two fronts. With the invention of the atomic bomb, American military forces were second to none and the Army was more and more powerful. During the cold war, the Army deployed on what was called policing missions—like Korea in the early 1950s—before the next big deployment in the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 70s. This was a difficult war: the Army had trouble adapting to the Viet Cong’s guerrilla tactics.1 The truth was the Army’s organization was not flexible, was too old fashioned to fight these kinds of non-conventional conflicts. There was also a great deal of rivalry between the different services within the Armed Forces.

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