Small Wars Journal

Pentagon: Military-Civilian Disconnect Could Endanger All-Volunteer Force

Pentagon: Military-Civilian Disconnect Could Endanger All-Volunteer Force by Dianna Cahn - Stars & Stripes

Americans are less connected to the military than ever before and Defense Department leaders - facing what could amount to a recruitment crisis in coming years - have started to take note.

“From our internal data, we have seen that the civilian-military divide is expanding,” said Amber Smith, deputy assistant to the secretary of defense for outreach at the Department of Defense. “That ultimately is a threat to the viability and sustainability of the all-volunteer force.”

In the decades since the United States ended the draft following the Vietnam War, the all-volunteer U.S. force has grown into a professional military fed in large part by families whose sons and daughters follow their parents into service.

But even as the United States nears completion of its second decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with threats of new conflicts emerging on the horizon, the number of young adults with parents who served has dropped precipitously in the last two decades from more than 40 percent in 1995 to 15 percent today, Smith said…

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