I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Army
This is a story that needs to be told, one about how the American military has transformed itself over the past 30 years from a force of mostly conscripts and draft-motivated “volunteers” held in low esteem by the American public to a force of professionals sustained in peacetime, tested in battle, and respected throughout the world. It is a story of how a determined group of public servants used analysis to bring about one of the most fundamental changes in American society. Many have spoken about the all-volunteer force as a classic marriage between political decisionmaking and policy analysis. Over the last 30 years, a rich body of analysis has developed that is largely unavailable to the general public or even to the general analytical community. The purpose of this book is to create a comprehensive record of the more than 30 years of policy and economic analysis that was responsible for today’s all-volunteer force. Using the historic context, the book traces the critical policy questions of the day, how these questions changed over time, and the analysis that provided decisionmakers with the insights to manage the all-volunteer force effectively.
Not Without Its Critics
From its inception, the all-volunteer force has not been without its critics. Military sociologists in particular were dismayed by the very thought that the nation would give up conscription, which for them epitomized the social contract between the citizen and the state. They worried that what they saw as a shift to a “market paradigm” would compromise the legitimacy of the military and reduce its effectiveness as a fighting force. Their concerns were presented in journal articles, papers at academic conferences, op-ed pieces in magazines and newspapers, and congressional testimony. From time to time, these views influenced decisionmakers and their decisions. Sometimes, they were in direct opposition to the work of the analysts trying to foster the all-volunteer force. Their arguments are also considered here, when and where appropriate.
How to Read This Book
This is at once a history of the evolution of America’s all-volunteer force and a review of the major policy questions and the research undertaken to support Department of Defense (DoD) decisionmakers over the past 30 years. Each period has at least two chapters: one that covers the history of the period and another that reviews the major analytic studies used to inform the debate.
Scholars are often frustrated when they try to find the material referenced in footnotes or in a bibliography. At best, this takes time and much effort. At worst, while you might have a reference, the material may not be easily available. I have tried something different here. An accompanying DVD &mdsh; available in the expanded DVD edition — contains the full text of the book and provides an archive of much of the related policy and analytic literature of the past 30 years, allowing the reader to see original source materials firsthand. The documents in this archive are linked from citations in the electronic version of the book. It is my hope that scholars and students of military affairs and public administration will use this book as an extended annotated bibliography and that access to these sources will enable better understanding and interpretation of the events reported here.
My 40-Year Odyssey
This book is also something of a memoir. I have had the honor and pleasure to participate in many of the events covered here as an analyst, a supervisor of research, a government official, and a decisionmaker. Throughout the book, I have included Author’s Notes as footnotes to provide a personal context.
In addition, many of the people mentioned in the book have also played many roles over the years of this story. In fact, this is an important part of the story. For example, during the late 1990s, the Deputy Secretary of Defense was Dr. John White. In our story Dr. White first appears as a researcher at the RAND Corporation and a member of the Gates Commission staff.1 He was later to lead the Air Force’s Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program at RAND and the team that convinced the DoD to put the Defense Manpower Analysis Center at RAND. Several years later, he became Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics and then became Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He played a central role in the creation of a viable standby draft and the revitalization of the Selective Service System and draft registration in 1980.
In my case, I was a captain in the Army assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis during the period of the Gates Commission (1968-1970). Although I was in the Pentagon during these critical years, I observed the events recounted here from a distance and through the filter of a junior staff officer. After my Pentagon service, I went to RAND (1970) and led a number of studies concerning the all-volunteer force and the Air Reserve Forces. The research and policy analysis done for the Air Reserve Forces is presented here. I eventually followed Dr. White as Director of the Air Force’s Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program at RAND. In 1977, both Dr. White and I left RAND to join the Carter administration, he as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics and I as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. In that job, I sponsored the Navy recruiting experiments that are also discussed here. In 1979, Dr. White was instrumental in my appointment by President Jimmy Carter to the position of Director of Selective Service. The lack of a creditable standby draft had become a significant charge against the all-volunteer force, and I was asked to build a new, postmobilization, standby system. Before the end of my tenure at Selective Service, my name would be associated with a landmark Supreme Court case concerning the power of Congress to legislate on the basis of gender. The case of Rostker v. Goldberg is also discussed in this book.
In later years, I was never far from the all-volunteer force. In 1985, I helped establish the Arroyo Center at RAND, the Army’s federally funded research and development center for studies and analysis. I initially supervised the manpower studies the Arroyo Center did for the Army. In 1990, I took over the leadership of the Defense Manpower Research Center at RAND. The center was established in 1971 at the start of the all-volunteer force. I left that position in 1994 to join the Clinton administration and spent the next four years as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. I did additional service as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses. The Deputy Secretary at the time was Dr. John White. I must have done something right in those jobs because, in 1998, Secretary of Defense William Cohen asked me to move from the Navy and become the 25th Under Secretary of the Army (1998-2000). Finally, in 2000, I was reassigned to the position of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (2000-2001). This is effectively the same position that Dr. White had held 23 years earlier as Assistant Secretary of Defense and that Dr. David S. C. Chu, another alumnus of RAND’s manpower programs, holds today.
Finally, this study was conducted by RAND as part of its continuing program of self-sponsored research. We acknowledge the support for such research provided by the independent research and development provisions of RAND’s contracts for the operation of its DoD federally funded research and development centers: Project AIR FORCE (sponsored by the U.S. Air Force), the Arroyo Center (sponsored by the U.S. Army), and the National Defense Research Institute (sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies). The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness provided additional funds.