Melvin R. Laird
Awards and Accolades
The Harry S. Truman Award for Distinguished Service
In recognition for his sustained dedication and outstanding contributions to the defense and security of the United States of America, contributions which have been felt well beyond his tenure as the Secretary of Defense.
As Secretary of Defense, in 1970, Mr. Laird formulated the Total Force Concept, emphasizing concurrent consideration of the Total Forces, Active, National Guard and Reserve, to obtain the most advantageous mix to support national strategy.
Mr. Laird's concern for the readiness of the National Guard and Reserve, and his concern for the planning, programming, manning, equipping and employing of the Guard and Reserve, made the National Guard an integral part of the defense planning process.
To solidify the role of the National Guard in national strategy, Mr Laird established the National Guard in national strategy. Mr. Laird established the National Guard and Reserve as the initial and primary augmentation of the active forces in any emergency.
Mr. Laird's understanding of national defense needs, of the effective utilization of resources, and of the traditional roles of the citizen-soldier, was instrumental in forging a concept, that became national policy, that made today's National Guard a partner in the Total Force.
In recognition of his farsighted thinking and noteworthy service to our nation, the National Guard Association of the United States bestows its highest award, the Harry S. Truman Award, on a truly great American - the Honorable Melvin R. Laird.