Image credit: Department of Defense

July 01, 2023

What an All-Volunteer Force Looks Like Today 50 Years After America Ditched the Draft

By Taren Sylvester

Despite 50 years of an All-Volunteer Force, fear of conscription remains just below the surface as Americans consider the role of the U.S. military and their relationship to it. Today, whispers of conscription ripple across social media whenever it seems that the United States might be drawn into a conflict -- after the 9/11 terrorist attacks; when Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was assassinated; and following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Google searches for the "draft" spike following these events like clockwork.

The first step in building trust is reckoning with the personnel failures that disenfranchise current and former service member.

However, despite what Americans experienced in the 20th century, the United States does not have a long tradition of conscription. In fact, conscription goes against the deeply held values of individual liberty and equality prized by Americans across the political spectrum.

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