Cover: The All-Volunteer Force

The All-Volunteer Force

Five Years Later

Published 1977

by Richard V.L. Cooper


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Results from the first five years without the draft have shown that the volunteer force has worked. Assuming that the military begins to reduce its personnel turnover rates, and barring major unforeseen circumstances, the all-volunteer force (AVF) can probably meet the nation's military manpower needs for the remainder of this century. The debate over an AVF has diverted attention from the issues of resource allocation and manpower management. Removal of the draft presents the opportunity to tackle these issues. This paper provides a brief discussion of why the draft was ended; examines evidence from the first five years without conscription, and explores changes that may be needed to make military manpower policy consistent with an all-volunteer environment. The potential of the AVF will depend critically on policies the Department of Defense and Congress implement during the next ten years, for the true test will occur in the 1980s.

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