L to R: Christopher A. Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute; Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Michele A. Flournoy, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Thomas Donnelly, Resident Fellow, defense and security policy, American Enterprise Institute
Saving the All Volunteer Army
December 14, 2004
United States operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have revealed deeply troubling cracks in the organization and structure of the U.S. volunteer Army. These problems have been exacerbated both by the current challenges of the international security environment and the way in which the Bush administration has used the active-duty and reserve components since September 11th. As a result, it appears that we are closer to breaking our volunteer Army today than at any other time in its 30-year history.
• Audio: Saving the All Volunteer Army
• Video: Welcome | Michele Flournoy | Larry Korb | Thomas Donnelly | Christopher Preble | Q&A
|Christopher A. Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute “The answer is also not further mobilization of the Guard and Reserve. This is a pattern that even started prior to 9/11, but was certainly exacerbated after 9/11 where the Guard and Reserve component were increasingly used not as a reserve, but really as a supplement to active duty forces being used abroad and therefore we need to recognize the Reserve as just that: a reserve.”||Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress “…the all-volunteer model is the right one for the country. It gives you a much more effective military than a draft military, and I think that’s why all of the leaders of the military services support it, which is rather ironic because they fought the creation of the volunteer military when it came into being but now they’re the most enthusiastic supporters because they know it is a more effective military, more professional, than one that’s a mix of draftees and volunteers.”|
|Michele A. Flournoy, Senior Adviser, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies “Since the end of the draft and the institution of the all-volunteer Army in – the force in 1973, the United States has relied on an all-volunteer force, and over the three decades since then, the force has really come to be recognized as the most capable and the most professional military in the world. Why? Not just because of U.S. technological superiority, but because of the quality of the people that we have been able to recruit and retain in an all-volunteer force. But recent operations in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq have put tremendous strains on the force, particularly the U.S. Army.”||Thomas Donnelly, Resident Fellow, defense and security policy, American Enterprise Institute “There’s nothing wrong with trying to create more mobile, more nimble brigade-sized units of action, but in the Middle East the more important missions are really those associated with the construction of what we used to call a theater army: a big thing that’s supposed to conduct long wars, stay there for a long time, and provide the structure to facilitate wide-ranging tactical operations not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but again I think we have to accept that this is kind of a region-wide phenomenon.”|