January 25, 2024

The Ukraine war and the myth of a permanent all-volunteer force

When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, many heralded a new era of warfare. Short wars waged by small professional forces seemed to be the way of the future. Authoritarian actors, it was argued, could use the Crimean fait accompli as a blueprint to undermine Western military dominance by disguising aggression and denying the United States time to respond. Nine years later, Russia’s war with Ukraine has exposed the flaws in this prediction. A Crimea-style “special military operation” designed to swallow up all of Ukraine in one swift action has devolved into a slog with no end in sight and hundreds of thousands of lives lost.

Washington needs to stop thinking of conscription as a relic of the past and the SSS as a vestigial government body.

As the two countries scramble to fill their depleted ranks, it has become painfully clear how unprepared both sides were for a lengthy conflict. In Ukraine, stories abound of recruiters raiding gyms and shopping centers to drum up recruits. Many men who were officially disqualified from service are now being drafted while healthy men flee the country or bribe officials to escape service. Some videos have even surfaced online allegedly showing Ukrainian recruiters physically stuffing men into vans bound for recruitment offices. Such desperation is a far cry from the beginning of the war when Ukrainian men flooded into recruitment stations to serve their country.

Read the full article from Stars and Stripes.

  • Commentary
    • Lawfare
    • December 11, 2023
    Countering Domestic Violent Extremism in the Ranks: Barriers to Recruitment Screening

    Lawful interaction with the technology sector, including social media platforms, is essential to effectively address national security threats, foreign and domestic....

    By Carrie Cordero & Katherine L. Kuzminski

  • Commentary
    • Military Times
    • November 22, 2023
    The Pentagon’s New Opportunity to Boost Readiness among Female Troops

    First lady Jill Biden on Nov. 13 announced the launch of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research to highlight the goal of fundamentally changing the way women’s ...

    By Katherine L. Kuzminski

  • Commentary
    • Sharper
    • November 8, 2023
    Sharper: Serving America's Veterans

    As America’s military continues to struggle to meet recruiting targets, the proper treatment of veterans and servicemembers is increasingly vital to ensure the All-Volunteer F...

    By Anna Pederson & Andrew Spafford

  • Commentary
    • Sharper
    • September 6, 2023
    Sharper: National Security Workforce

    A capable workforce is central to the effectiveness of any government, military, or industry. Opaque processes and standards that lag behind the private sector contribute to r...

    By Anna Pederson, Taren Sylvester & Charles Horn

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia