Military Manpower and the All-Volunteer Force — Testimony Before the House Armed Services Committee (Subcommittee on Military Personnel)

February 15, 1978

by Richard V.L. Cooper


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The volunteer force can be made to work much better than its draft dependent predecessor. Three decades of postwar conscription encouraged the military to develop and maintain patterns of manpower utilization and management that were not cost-effective or equitable and probably added needless constraints to the defense manpower system. To date possible efficiency gains have gone largely unrealized. Major areas requiring reform are: manpower requirements, compensation, retirement, tenure policies, and military training. The author suggests the need for a substitution of career enlisted personnel for first termers, reducing military training costs by less need for first-term enlisted training, and simplifying the costly patchwork of the present military compensation system. Such changes could possible yield long-run annual cost savings of some $5-10 billion.

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