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Military Reform: A Consequence of the Spanish-American War

The United States' participation in the Spanish-American War exposed the military establishment's overall ineptitude. It was likely that a fight against a stronger foe than Spain would have resulted in disaster. The army, in particular, was in need of thorough reorganization. President McKinley, in one of his most astute moves, appointed Elihu Root to head the Department of War. The successful corporation lawyer from New York remained in that office during the first administration of Theodore Roosevelt. Major accomplishments made during the period from 1900 to 1903 included:

  1. A fourfold increase in the army's size, resulting in a 100,000-man force
  2. Federalizing the National Guard, a response to numerous problems generated by volunteer forces largely under states' control during the recent war
  3. Improved officer training through the creation of the Army Staff College and the Army War College
  4. The creation of a general staff (later to be the Joint Chiefs of Staff) as an advisory body for the secretary of war (later the secretary of defense).

See other foreign affairs issues under Theodore Roosevelt.