In the era of the All-Volunteer Force, the military has so far largely been able to maintain relatively high standards for who will be accepted while still recruiting enough personnel to meet manpower needs, though troubling signs indicate this may not remain true moving forward. Servicemembers enter the military with both risk and protective factors for how they will fare both during and after their military service. While serving – which the majority do for only a few years – they may experience a variety of exposures while also benefitting from a variety of support structures, formal and informal. After transitioning back into civilian life, a process many find challenging, veterans are often eligible for an array of benefits from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Despite the outpouring of support shown to military personnel, veterans, and their families, however, many express concern about a growing civil-military divide in which society at large does not understand their experiences. This may, in turn, affect the propensity for the next generation to serve. Throughout these time frames, there are issues that the federal government can directly affect, while others are beyond the scope of government intervention. Crucially, there is a complex interplay of pre-service, in-service, and post-service experiences that should be considered.
The CNAS Military, Veterans, and Society program therefore addresses issues facing America’s service members, veterans, and military families throughout this life cycle. Emphasis areas include the future of the All-Volunteer Force, trends within the veteran community, and civil-military relations. The program produces high-impact research that informs and inspires strategic action; convenes stakeholders and hosts top-quality public and private events to shape the national conversation; and engages policymakers, industry leaders, Congress, scholars, the media, and the public about challenges and opportunities for veterans and the military community.
Learn more about the CNAS Military, Veterans and Society Program's new "Supporting the Military Community" commentary series.
Executive Summary The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that there are 21.6 million veterans living in the United States, making up 6.7 percent of the general popu...
By Katherine Kidder, Amy Schafer, Phillip Carter, Moira Fagan, Jeesue Lee & Andrew Swick
ReportsChanging Tides in the Sea of Goodwill: A Financial Analysis of Veteran-Serving Nonprofits
As the United States enters its 18th year of war since 9/11, the shape of the country’s veteran community is rapidly transforming. The total number of American veterans is shr...
By Douglas McCormick, Emma Moore & Andrew Swick
CommentaryA Lack of Support Leaves the Reserves Broken
After spending ten years as an active duty intelligence officer with the Marine Corps, I transitioned to the reserves, specifically the Selected Marine Corps Reserve component...
By Margaret Seymour