Image credit: U.S. Army

July 03, 2023

The All-Volunteer Force Is in Crisis

By Dr. Jason Dempsey and Gil Barndollar

Fifty years ago, one American faced Independence Day having just lost much of his personal freedom. Dwight Elliot Stone, the U.S. military’s last draftee, was inducted into the United States Army on June 30, 1973. Private Stone served not in Vietnam but in the safer yet equally humid swamps of Fort Polk, Louisiana. His 17 months in uniform brought down the curtain on the draft. Stone was the last of more than 17 million men conscripted into the U.S. military.

But despite 20 years of war and military interventions with mixed results, the all-volunteer force has been subject to little debate about whether it’s still the right force for America.

Those who joined the American military in July of 1973, and in the five decades since, have been part of what is known as America’s “all-volunteer force,” or AVF. For most Americans, the AVF is something to be celebrated, but foreign to their daily lives. The AVF gave most Americans the freedom to be indifferent to their military, shifting the burden of service to a smaller, self-selected cohort of citizens.

Read the full article from The Atlantic.

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