Military, Veterans, & Society

Within Military, Veterans, & Society

The Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) program addresses issues facing America’s service members, veterans, and military families, including 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 issues facing veterans and the military community.

In the past year, the program released three major reports and conducted extensive outreach with stakeholders. The MVS team released a “Needs Assessment for Veterans in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northeastern Pennsylvania,” to assess the needs of veterans in these areas to assist in planning future philanthropic investment by the Weinberger Foundation in the area, and serve as a resource for other veteran service organizations. The paper resulted in a number of observations regarding issues facing veterans and military families in the region that stands in contrast to the veteran and military family experience in other regions. 

Furthermore, in 2017 the program published “Lost in Translation: The Civil-Military Divide and Veteran Employment,” an examination of the hurdles to veteran hiring and retention despite the business opportunity to leverage training and talent found among veterans. The paper found that the civil-military divide and growing gap between the public and those who serve (or have served) in the military can inhibit veteran hiring and retention. The team examined how the divide stands, its effects on employers and society, and its effect on veterans transitioning to civilian work. 

A critical report was the 2017 “Generations of War: The Rise of the Warrior Caste and the All-Volunteer Force,” that highlighted the widening gulf between service members and greater society. The propensity of youth from military families to serve in the armed forces, known as the ‘warrior caste,’ is a large component of the all-volunteer force recruiting, leading to an imbalance in sacrifice and increased isolation of the military. 

Over the past year, the team brought members of the military and civilian communities together to explore recent additions to the growing body of literature in the military-veteran space. In December 2017 and June 2018, the MVS program hosted discussions between groups monitoring the civilian casualty situation in the Middle East, the Open Society Foundation and Airwars, and Pentagon officials. The December discussion included CNAS’ Nick Heras and Loren DeJong Schulman, with remarks from Wendy Patten of Open Society Foundations. The June discussion was hosted by the Director of Airwars, Chris Woods. In May, the team hosted the Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, on talent management and the Army’s modernization strategy. CNAS Senior Fellow Susanna Blume moderated the discussion, focused on the Army's plan to increase soldier lethality and develop improved weapons and equipment, as well as changes to the personnel system. In 2018, the MVS team will continue to focus its efforts on projects including a mapping of the veteran entrepreneurial ecosystem, an assessment of the importance of ROTC, and issues relating to women in the services.

Support CNAS

Recent Publications

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia

Related Events

Military, Veterans, & Society

Watch: Discussion with Army Secretary Mark Esper

May 16, 2018

Washington, DC

Military, Veterans, & Society

From College To Cabinet: Women in National Security

Apr 5, 2017

Washington, DC

Military, Veterans, & Society

The U.S. Women, Peace, and Security Agenda and UN Peacekeeping Operations

Mar 6, 2017

Washington, DC

View All Events

Research Team

  • Jason Dempsey

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

  • Daniel Feehan

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

  • Emma Moore

    Researcher, Military, Veterans, and Security Program

  • Kayla M. Williams

    Senior Fellow and Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program