I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force

I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force

I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force

I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force

Synopsis

Should the U.S. reinstate the draft? With this inside look at the Pentagon and the White House, the author reviews the American military's transformation over the past thirty years into the world's finest fighting force, and describes why the volunteer force is still the best strategy for our national security. A vast archive of government documents on DVD allows readers to view exchanges between government officials at the highest level-including formally classified memorandum between Presidents and Secretaries of Defense-revealing for the first time the inner story of the All-Volunteer Force.

Excerpt

This is a story that needs to be told, one about how the American military has transformed itself over the past 30 years from a force of mostly conscripts and draft-motivated “volunteers” held in low esteem by the American public to a force of professionals sustained in peacetime, tested in battle, and respected throughout the world. It is a story of how a determined group of public servants used analysis to bring about one of the most fundamental changes in American society. Many have spoken about the allvolunteer force as a classic marriage between political decisionmaking and policy analysis. Over the last 30 years, a rich body of analysis has developed that is largely unavailable to the general public or even to the general analytical community. The purpose of this book is to create a comprehensive record of the more than 30 years of policy and economic analysis that was responsible for today’s all-volunteer force. Using the historic context, the book traces the critical policy questions of the day, how these questions changed over time, and the analysis that provided decisionmakers with the insights to manage the all-volunteer force effectively.

Not Without Its Critics

From its inception, the all-volunteer force has not been without its critics. Military sociologists in particular were dismayed by the very thought that the nation would give up conscription, which for them epitomized the social contract between the citizen and the state. They worried that what they saw as a shift to a “market paradigm” would compromise the legitimacy of the military and reduce its effectiveness as a fighting force. Their concerns were presented in journal articles, papers at academic conferences, op-ed pieces in magazines and newspapers, and congressional testimony. From time to time, these views influenced decisionmakers and their decisions. Sometimes, they were in direct opposition to the work of the analysts trying to foster the all-volunteer force. Their arguments are also considered here, when and where appropriate.

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