Tracing the evolution of the U.S. Army throughout American history, the authors 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. The authors document this in a series of four volumes, collected here in an easily searchable digital tool.
Volume I traces the history of U.S. military policy from the colonial era through the Spanish-American War; this period is critical for understanding the genesis of the basic structure of today's Army and the various factors that informed that structure. Volume II focuses on the major laws enacted in the early 20th century that changed the federal government's relationship with the National Guard, established what would become today's Army Reserve, and improved the Army's ability to expand and develop trained specialists. Volume III covers the period from 1940 to 1970 and the development of Total Force Policy. 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.
Access the tool
This research was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Tool series. RAND tools may include models, databases, calculators, computer code, GIS mapping tools, practitioner guidelines, web applications, and various toolkits. All RAND tools undergo rigorous peer review to ensure both high data standards and appropriate methodology in keeping with RAND's commitment to quality and objectivity.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.