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.
CommentaryPerceptions of the Military Community
Sharpening America’s strategic edge and sustaining the U.S. military advantage is about more than technology and budgets. Crucially, it is also about people: the soldiers, sai...
By Kayla M. Williams
ReportsFrom Sea to Shining Sea
In a new online tool, Carole House, Emma Moore, Brent Peabody, and Kayla Williams catalogue benefits for the veteran community offered by each state so that stakeholders can e...
By Carole House, Emma Moore, Brent Peabody & Kayla M. Williams
ReportsPeriodic Occupational and Environmental Monitoring Summary
Introduction and Executive Summary Congress and the media have paid substantial attention to the potential health risks of service members’ exposure to open air burn pits whi...
By Kayla M. Williams & James Fahy