I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Army
What Have We Done?
A Summary of Then and Now (1960–2006)
Then, Now, and the In-Between: The Plan for This Book
Having discussed the conditions of the late 1960s leading to an all-volunteer force — the Then — and the force that resulted — the Now — the remainder of the book tells the story of how the all-volunteer force evolved — the In-Between. The remaining 18 chapters follow roughly the chronology of events, with each period covered in two chapters. Three chapters depart from this format, however. The period of the Carter administration is covered in three chapters, including a stand-alone chapter called the “Selective Service Side Show.” The Reagan and Bush years of the 1980s are also covered in three chapters, with one devoted to the role women have played in the success of the all-volunteer force. A final chapter explores why the all-volunteer force has been a success.
The chronology of events can sometimes become confusing. An event will carry the normal calendar notation of date of month, day year, e.g., July 1, 1973, the first official day of the all-volunteer force, but that day is also the first day of fiscal year (FY) 1974. On any given day, such as July 1, 1973, the Department of Defense will be spending money from one fiscal year, e.g., FY 1973, defending its budget request for the next fiscal year before Congress, e.g., FY 1974, and preparing the details of its budget to be submitted to the President for his consideration that covers a third fiscal year, e.g., FY 1975. An appendix to this book contains a timeline that should help the reader make sense of what often can become a confusing set of dates.
The first chapter for each period is the history of the period. It is largely based on government documents, particularly those from the original Project Volunteer Office in the Pentagon and those that were in the files of the immediate office of the Secretary of Defense before they were sent to the National Records Center.12 They have been supplemented with archived papers from the Executive Office of the President for the Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. Papers from the Bush and Clinton administrations have been embargoed by a recent Executive Order and were not available. In addition, a large number of documents were obtained from former government officials who had taken copies with them when they left office.
The second chapter for each period focuses on the research used to inform the decisionmakers as they were managing the all-volunteer force. While this is also largely chronological, adding this material to the history chapter would have hopelessly diverted the story. As a result, and since each chapter is meant to stand alone, there is some unavoidable repetition between each and its associated history chapter. The second chapters present material that some readers will find very technical. These chapters can be easily scanned or skipped entirely without loosing much of the story of the evolution of the all-volunteer force. For those interested, however, they do present a more in-depth understanding of how decisionmakers used analysis, an important theme in the story.
The remaining chapters of this book roughly correspond to the administrations of the eight Presidents since Lyndon Johnson ordered the Pentagon study of the draft in 1964. Key to the story are the ten men who have served as Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries that supported them over the last 35 years. Most noteworthy are Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird; Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Roger Kelley; Kelley’s replacement, William K. Brehm; and the secretaries he served, James Schlesinger and Donald Rumsfeld. They had the very hard job of initiating and nurturing the all-volunteer force during its most formative years. The Carter administration’s Secretary of Defense was Harold Brown; his assistant secretaries in the manpower “shop” were John White and Robin Pirie. They had to deal with the all-volunteer force at its lowest. Assistant Secretaries Larry Korb and Chris Jehn served Secretaries of Defense Caspar Weinberger, Frank Carlucci, and Richard Cheney as the Cold War came to an end. Edwin Dorn, Rudy Deleon, and Bernard Rostker were under secretaries — the position of assistant secretary was elevated one level in the hierarchy — serving secretaries Les Aspin, William Perry, and William Cohen during the 1990s, as the force transitioned to a new world order after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since 2001, David S. C. Chu has been Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the new name for the old position; he works for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, returning for the second time. The events of September 11, 2001, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq mark their administration.
The success of the all-volunteer force can be clearly linked to the expertise these men brought to the job. A number of the Secretaries of Defense served as members of Congress — Laird, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Aspin, and Cohen. Several had also held senior positions at the White House — Rumsfeld and Cheney had been chiefs of staff to the President. Carlucci had been national security advisor to the President and Schlesinger had been the Director of Central Intelligence and Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The under and assistant secretaries who served during these 35 years were also very well qualified. Many were trained analysts. Brehm, White, Pirie, Korb, Jehn, Dorn, Rostker, and Chu all contributed to the development of the all-volunteer force before they took their posts at the Pentagon. The reader will meet these men and many more as this story unfolds.
Besides the qualifications of the people who managed the all-volunteer force throughout the years, there are number of themes that mark the evolution of the all-volunteer force which come up time and again. The reader will find many examples of how resistant the institution was to change; the importance of analysis in asking the right questions and providing decisionmakers with the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action; the importance that pay has in recruiting the right force; how hard it has been to determining what was the right force to recruit and than how to actually recruit it. Finally, repeatedly, when the “wrong” decisions were made prospective recruits and those in service told those in charge when things were not right. They told them not in words, but by actions — by not enlisting and not reenlisting. In one way, this is the story of how those in charge reacted to the messages they were sent.