The Evolution of U.S. Military Policy from the Constitution to the Present, Volume IV

The Total Force Policy Era, 1970–2015

by M. Wade Markel, Alexandra T. Evans, Miranda Priebe, Adam Givens, Jameson Karns, Gian Gentile


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Tracing the evolution of the U.S. Army throughout American history, the authors of this four-volume series show that there is no such thing as a "traditional" U.S. military policy. Rather, the laws that authorize, empower, and govern the U.S. armed forces emerged from long-standing debates and a series of legislative compromises between 1903 and 1940.

Volume IV covers the period from 1970 to 2015, from changes to U.S. military policy that resulted from the Vietnam War through years of persistent conflict following the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks. In spite of significant changes in the strategic context during this period, the fundamental laws underpinning U.S. military policy remained largely unchanged. Volume IV also discusses how the demands of persistent conflict since the 9/11 terrorist attacks have led to increased use of individuals and units from the reserve components.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Army Embraces the Total Force Policy, 1970–1976

  • Chapter Three

    The Total Force Policy Matures, 1977–1991

  • Chapter Four

    The Total Force Policy Adapts, 1992–2001

  • Chapter Five

    Increasing the Army's Operational Depth, 2002–2015

  • Chapter Six

    Volume Conclusion

  • Appendix A

    Summary Table of Legislation Pertaining to the Evolution of U.S. Military Policy

  • Appendix B

    Taxonomy of Important Terms

Research conducted by

This research was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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