Cover: The All-Volunteer Force

The All-Volunteer Force

Testimony Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, March 2, 1977

Published 1977

by Richard V.L. Cooper


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The all-volunteer force (AVF) has attracted a socially representative mix of the desired quantity and quality of new recruits at a cost substantially less than once assumed. The author outlines how the all-volunteer force has fared since 1971. (1) The Services have met their quantitative recruiting objectives since removal of the draft. (2) Enlisted accession requirements are higher under the volunteer force. The key to long-run success rests in reducing enlisted accession requirements, through reducing personnel turnover rates. (3) The quality of new recruits has increased. (4) High unemployment rates are not responsible for the success of the volunteer force. (5) The AVF regional, urban-rural, and rich-poor composition is remarkably similar to that under the draft. (6) Defense manpower costs have risen but not due to the AVF; they are instead attributable to pay increases and the retirement system. (7) Problems remain with the reserve forces and physician manning.

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