All-Volunteer Force, Myths, citizenship, military service, United States, AVF, recruitment, Charles Moskos, citizen-soldier, national service, the Iraq War, Union Army, President George W. Bush, Selective Service, military recruitment, American citizenship, political obligation, President Truman, American soldiers, General Accounting Office, Peter Karsten, the Vietnam War, universal military training, Andrew Bacevich, Daniel Moran, proximate cause, Army, President Bill Clinton, David Segal, President Bush, A. Philip Randolph, Individual Ready Reserve, Office of War Information, National Guard, John F. Kennedy, Yale University Press, American Forces Press Service, Rethinking Military Recruitment, Vietnam War, Osama Bin Laden, Caspar Weinberger, armed forces, Eliot Cohen, Krepinevich Jr., military operations, Citizen Soldiers, disadvantaged minorities, Broyles Jr.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force: Rethinking Military Recruitment and the Fate of the Citizen-Soldier Ronald R. Krebs Assistant Professor Department of Political Science University of Minnesota
1414 Social Sciences 267 19th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55455 tel.: 612-624-4356 fax: 612-626-7599 [email protected]
For helpful comments and criticisms, the author thanks James Burk, Stuart Cohen, Peter Karsten, Charles Moskos, David Segal, Allan Silver, and Jason Steck. An earlier version of this paper was presented at a conference on "Citizenship, the Soldier, and the State," at the Maxwell School of Public Affairs, Syracuse University
; thanks to the many attendees who provided such useful feedback.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 2 Myths of the All-Volunteer Force: Rethinking Military Recruitment and the Fate of the Citizen-Soldier Abstract Many contend that the elimination of the draft in 1973, and the establishment of the all-volunteer force (AVF), severed the link between service and citizenship and thereby fostered a corrosive culture of rights. Since the attacks of September 11, and in conjunction with the manpower strains of the Iraq War, they have, with increasing intensity, issued calls for a new draft or at least for mandatory national service. This article argues that these critics have idealized the preAVF US military, that the AVF was more a product of the change in American citizenship ideals than a cause of them, and that the demise of the citizen-soldier tradition has been greatly exaggerated. The introduction of the AVF did not have the broad social and political impact so often ascribed to it, and neither a new draft nor non-military national service would reverse the liberal turn in American citizenship.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force: Rethinking Military Recruitment and the Fate of the Citizen-Soldier It has become fashionable in certain circles to blame the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) for a host of social ills. The elimination of the draft in 1973 is alleged--perhaps not single-handedly, but certainly substantially--to have severed the link between military service and citizenship, to have thereby fostered a socially and politically corrosive culture of rights, and to have undermined American national unity by eliminating a widely shared experience
. As Charles Moskos has put it, "the abandonment of conscription [in the United States] jeopardizes the nation's dual-military tradition, one-half of which--and truly its heart--is the citizen soldiery" (Moskos 1993). For some, the solution is straightforward: bring back the draft. Mass conscription would dispel the supposed perils of multiculturalism and large-scale immigration, reinvigorate civic-mindedness, foster equality, and re-instill a sense of shared mission and community. It would, in short, remake American citizenship and the American nation.1 In the contemporary United States, however, the draft's prospects remain slim, and conscription is widely perceived as politically non-viable. The war in Iraq has severely strained, but not irreparably harmed, the existing system of voluntary recruitment: that system has proved resilient, as recruit quantity and quality have recently recovered, albeit at substantial cost.2 Yet these pressures failed to sustain a vigorous debate on the future of the all-volunteer force: nearly all, inside and outside Washington, presume that the military will raise its forces on only a voluntary basis for the foreseeable future. Nor would I argue that the armed forces should do otherwise: the American people would likely not support a draft for secondary, and arguably imperial, objectives; a new draft might very well fail to avoid the class inequities of the old system; and conscription might have difficulty meeting the modern Army's need for high-skill
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 2 technical specialists. Yet we should carefully consider claims regarding the effects of military recruitment systems on national citizenship. Whether conscription was responsible for creating, or at least sustaining, a more civic American citizenry and whether voluntary recruitment has contributed to the development of a less civic and more atomistic political culture has implications for the future of non-military national service and other efforts to revive a republican culture of civic obligation. The next three sections address and challenge core claims advanced by critics of the AVF. First, critics have idealized the pre-AVF US military. They argue that the citizen-soldier tradition was the product of a socially representative military force whose members were motivated by a strong sense of obligation to the state, but, if they are correct, how did that tradition survive for over a century and a half between the colonial period and World War II? The US military was hardly representative, and there is little evidence that political obligation figured centrally in soldier motivations. Moreover, many nostalgically depict the mass army as having provided American males with a common rite of passage that allowed them and the country to transcend divisive cleavages. But the underlying argument, based on the contact hypothesis, is empirically and theoretically problematic. If Americans have lost a sense of common identity, the end of the draft cannot be blamed, and the imposition of a new draft would be no silver bullet. Second, I question whether the draft, even in its heyday, did in fact play a crucial role in sustaining a culture premised on obligations, rather than rights. To the extent that Americans today expect to receive much while giving little, the roots of this transformation from a republican to a liberal political culture precede the AVF. In fact, the AVF was more a response to these cultural developments than it was a cause of them.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 3 Third, the tradition of the citizen-soldier is by no means dead. Its discourse remains very much part of the contemporary scene: the exchange of military service for citizenship is still enshrined in law and practice, and the thousands of young Americans who have died and been severely injured in Iraq are rhetorically represented as patriots. As such, this discourse remains available as the basis for categorical claims upon the state by veterans and disadvantaged groups. Taken together, these arguments suggest that the introduction of the All-Volunteer Force in 1973 did not have the broad social and political impact so often ascribed to it. Neither the return of the draft nor the imposition of even mandatory non-military national service would reverse the culture of entitlement and rights--that is, the liberal turn in American citizenship. The critical reforms must lie less in the realm of institutions and recruitment systems than in the realm of discourse, less in the arena of structure than in the exercise of agency. Yet I am ambivalent about the civic republican project, which contains the potential to reinvigorate and expand democracy but has also in practice worked to circumscribe democracy's reach. Proposals for a new program of national service often lose sight of the primary task: formulating and nurturing non-militarized republican citizenship ideals. The Alleged Consequences of the AVF In 1973 President Richard Nixon
ended the draft that had sustained the US military throughout the Cold War until that point. In its stead, he installed the All-Volunteer Force, and over time it proved a success. Recruit quality initially declined, and the AVF had difficulty meeting its recruitment quotas: calls for the return of the draft consequently surfaced in the late 1970s. Pay raises, combined with improved recruiting techniques and a poor civilian economy, rectified many of these problems by the early-to-mid-1980s.3 Over the course of the next decade,
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 4 the average quality of recruits rose to unprecedented heights: by the early 1990s, well over 90 percent of new recruits held high school diplomas, and upwards of 70 percent scored above average on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (Hogan et al. 2004).4 While attrition rates stubbornly refused to fall, fluctuating between 29 and 39 percent (Gebicke 1998), retention rates nevertheless improved, indicating improved morale. With a booming civilian economy, recruit quality declined again in the 1990s, but picked up toward the end of the decade (Congressional Budget Office 2005; National Defense Research Institute 2004). In short, seemingly thanks to the voluntary basis of recruitment, the Army eventually overcame the substantial organizational failures of which it had given much evidence in Vietnam.5 The new military arguably had social benefits as well:6 the representation of minorities, especially African-Americans, predictably rose, giving these populations a path out of entrenched poverty, institutional racism, and systemic disadvantage.7 The overwhelming victory over Iraq's military forces in the 1991 Gulf War is often seen as the moment when the AVF, which had been subject to so much criticism through the 1980s, clearly passed the test.8 While a volunteer military has been a success on narrow military grounds, its critics have highlighted alleged negative social and political consequences. The citizen-soldier driven by a sense of obligation has, thanks to the introduction of the AVF, been replaced by homo economicus, motivated primarily by the personal skills, salary, and educational benefits that military service bequeaths (Moskos Jr. 1986).9 The Army recruitment slogans of recent memory--"Be All That You Can Be" and, even more atomistically, "An Army of One"-- capture volunteers' individualistic motives.10 More importantly, they reflect a changing model of military service: from an institutional to an occupational format (Moskos 1977; Moskos et al. 2000; Moskos and Wood 1988).
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 5 In place of a force of citizen-soldiers that was the country in microcosm, the AVF ushered in a professional military that was unrepresentative of the surrounding society. The sons and daughters of the wealthy avoided military service, with the burden falling on the working class
and especially minorities (Moskos 1981; Rangel 2002). Veterans, once over-represented in Congress, were under-represented by the mid-1990s, and their numbers continue to fall (Bianco and Markham 2001).11 The AVF has therefore violated "the governing principle" of America's past wars: "shared sacrifice." As Josiah Bunting III has observed, "What is certain is how distant all things military, all the appurtenances and actions and needs of war and warriors, have become from the informed and thoughtful consideration of those to whom our commerce and culture have given the most" (Bunting III 2005, 15). When the military burden is widely shared, the experience is said to "instill in those who served, as in the national culture generally, a sense of unity and moral seriousness" (Moskos and Glastris 2001). When, however, that burden is borne narrowly, and particularly when the educated and well off do not typically serve, the link between service and citizenship is undermined. As Eliot Cohen puts it, "When most young men do not serve in the military, those who do are not fulfilling a common obligation of citizenship, but are merely unlucky" (Cohen 2001).12 The AVF is consequently accused of having contributed to the transformation, even the dilution, of American citizenship. Citizenship refers to the mutual claims that authorities and populations may make upon each other, to rights that must be respected and obligations that must be fulfilled by both (Tilly 1995). In the contemporary United States, citizenship has become merely a bundle of rights, a one-way street in which citizens make claims on state authorities but tolerate government making few substantial claims upon them (Glendon 1991; Janowitz 1980). Put differently, Americans have grown increasingly enamored of a liberal model of citizenship,
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 6 which lacks a persuasive basis for civic obligation. Liberals, focused on the priority of noninterference, may of course perform civic functions, but they do not accede to binding commitments that would limit their freedom of action (Sandel 1984; Viroli 2002, 35-43; Walzer 1970). The AVF arguably played a signal role in this process, for military service is one of the few concrete demands that states make on their populations, and its potential cost goes well beyond paying one's taxes, serving on a jury, or voting. The "crucial flaw" of the AVF, Charles Moskos has charged, is its embedded view of military service as nothing more than "a job to be filled by cash inducements" (Moskos 1981, 34), and such a military cannot teach norms of good citizenship to recruits or model civic virtue for civilians. Not only did the AVF allow large swaths of the population to avoid their obligations, but it suggested that civic virtue was no longer a preeminent value, thinning the links between citizenship and public duty. When meaningful sacrifice is not part of citizens' lives, a culture emerges that is neither accustomed to nor appreciative of sacrifice (Cohen 2001; Morgan 2003; Strauss 2003). By this account, mass armies suggest a republican alternative to liberal citizenship. Republicans, like liberals, focus on the preservation of individual liberty, but they conceive of such liberty in terms of freedom from domination--that is, freedom from intentional and arbitrary interference. Republicans, therefore, "do not view state action, provided it is properly constrained, as an inherent affront to liberty," and they in fact welcome state action that would address relations and structures of domination. Republicans see great value in active participation in democratic politics not because--as in the Aristotelian "positive liberty" or Rousseauan populist republican tradition--it is an end in itself, but because it fosters the publicspiritedness that promotes a political culture hostile to domination and protective of liberty. The republican tradition has long emphasized the importance of civic virtue in sustaining republican
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 7 institutions by fostering identification with the polity (Pettit 1997, 148 and passim; Viroli 2002). And it has historically treated military service as the preeminent civic obligation and identified the good citizen as one willing to die on the battlefield for the political community
(Pocock 1975, 194-218, 535-39). What is at stake in these divergent conceptions of citizenship, according to the critics of the volunteer army? Why does it matter if contemporary America tilts toward liberal individualism? First, the Founders saw the citizen soldier as the guarantor of the republic, for he and his fellows possessed the skills and values needed to prevent tyranny from again rearing its ugly head. Standing armies, in contrast, would serve the executive or monarch, not the people, and could be used to silence protest. The holder of the musket rules, and thus the Founders put their faith in the colonial militia, in which the common man bore arms to preserve not only the state's security but ultimately his own liberty (Pocock 1975). Second, communitarians have argued that the wellintentioned effort to safeguard individual liberties has harmed the quality of democracy by nurturing a citizenry focused on the pursuit of private goods
rather than service of the public good. In the absence of a more deeply participatory citizenship, populaces become disengaged from politics, and the result is the erosion of political community (Bell 1993; Etzioni 1998). Political community is the essential basis for collective political action, and a renewed emphasis on public service might reinvigorate American democracy. Third, to counter vital threats to their security, states sometimes do require great sacrifice, and a society for whom sacrifice is not an ingrained habit--that is, a society dominated by liberal citizenship discourse--is a society that may not be capable of meeting the challenge when great needs arise.13 In the next three sections, I will suggest that these claims may be wrong. At the very least, they must be substantially emended if they are to be salvaged. Critics of the volunteer force
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 8 idealize the draft and give it too much credit for forging an American nation and teaching norms of participatory citizenship. They correspondingly assign the introduction of the AVF more causal weight than it can possibly bear. Finally, they exaggerate the demise of the citizen-soldier tradition: viewed through the lens of discourse, rather than through the lens of organizational arrangements, the tradition remains healthy. Getting Real about the Mass Army To attribute certain outcomes to the introduction of the AVF is to presume that the new volunteer army was markedly different from the force that preceded it. Eliot Cohen argues that volunteer militaries differ from conscript forces along three dimensions: motivation, representativeness, and identity. Under a draft, military service reflects the fulfillment of an obligation to the state; the force is, at least in theory, demographically and socioeconomically representative of society at large; and soldiers' primary identity is as citizens, temporarily in uniform. In a volunteer force, the demand for service comes from below: even if motivated by patriotic stirrings, service in no way suggests the fulfillment of obligation. Such a military force is, neither in theory nor in practice, representative of the broader society. Finally, members of the armed forces are, far down the chain of command, long-serving professionals with training, expertise, and a corporate identity that sits alongside, and at times even competes with, their civilian identity (Cohen 2001). As a form of ideal-typical analysis, distinguishing two forms of military organization and recruitment, Cohen's analysis is very useful. But it cannot sustain the more specific empirical claims that attribute the death of the citizen-soldier and the transformation of American citizenship to the AVF. The reality of the US military prior to the AVF departs greatly from the idealized version with regard to both representativeness and
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 9 motivation.14 The final discussion in this section addresses a related myth of the mass army: that it unified the body politic and helped average Americans transcend their ethnic, racial, and class particularities. Motivation. In the ideal-typical mass army, soldiers willingly obey the call to arms, recognizing that they thereby fulfill their civic duty. As citizens, they have obligations to the political community, and so too the governing authorities have obligations to them. If military service and citizenship were more tightly linked in earlier eras, one would expect to find that the duties of citizenship would figure centrally in the motivations of these soldiers. Yet Peter Karsten has observed that there is little evidence of what might be called "consent theory" in the history of military recruitment in the United States. Within the ranks, there appears to have been at best a weak sense of political obligation, and most appear to have been motivated more by the economic opportunities service afforded.15 Recruiting bounties--or, in today's lingo, signing bonuses--were as much a feature of the Continental Army during the Revolution and the Union Army during the Civil War as they are in today's volunteer force. If citizens saw military service as a contractual duty, in exchange for the public goods the state provided, one would have expected to see little public opposition to the imposition of a national draft in the Civil War and the two world wars, but in fact there was a great deal of such resistance (Karsten 1982, 2001). Soldiers motivated by a sense of political obligation may certainly be self-interested: citizenship is a contractual relationship, and citizens are obligated to the state only if the state upholds its end of the arrangement. Thus the observation that American soldiers were hardly altruistic before the introduction of the AVF--as veterans, they have received housing benefits, medical care, pensions, education credits, and preferential hiring (Segal 1989, chap. 4)--does not necessarily indicate some base motivation or that the relationship is purely commodified (Burk
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 10 2001). However, populations motivated by the citizenship bargain should not use the occasion of crisis to seek to renegotiate the terms. Yet that is precisely what populations around the globe have done. When governments have confronted severe international threats and sought to mobilize their human and material resources, populations have wrung from them revised, more favorable terms of citizenship. As European states turned to the mass army in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the price for popular compliance was political representation
and often an extensive welfare state (Mann 1998; Tilly 1992). In the United States, such bargaining dynamics have hardly been unknown: the African-American activist A. Philip Randolph threatened a large-scale March on Washington in 1940, which led to the formation of the Fair Employment Practices Committee to enforce non-discrimination in the war industries, and in 1948, Randolph went further, threatening black draft evasion unless President Truman issued his long-promised executive order eliminating segregation in the armed forces (Klinkner and Smith 2000; Kryder 2000).16 In short, with regard to motivation, the end of conscription in the United States does not appear to have prompted attitudes or behaviors that diverged dramatically from the past. An awareness of the binding duties of citizenship has played equally little role in motivating enlistment either before or after the introduction of the AVF. Representativeness. In the ideal typical mass army, even a selective one, the burden of military service should fall relatively equally across critical cleavages: ethnicity, race, religion, socioeconomic class. The army is then the nation in miniature, for better or for worse. Yet it is important not to exaggerate the degree to which the US armed forces had been representative in the past--when the bonds between citizenship and service were allegedly tighter.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 11 The US armed forces were most representative of the nation at large from World War II through the Korean War--a very short period.17 Between the Civil War and World War I, and then again in the interwar period, the armed forces were quite small, composed entirely of volunteers, and very much unlike the country. Between the end of the Korean War and the expansion of the US presence in Vietnam, the proportion of eligible men drafted shrank dramatically. Between 1955 and 1960, the number of draftees entering the armed forces declined from 153,000 to 87,000, and Selective Service's primary mission shifted from inducting men into the military to channeling manpower into academic and professional fields consistent with government priorities (Flynn 1985, chap. 8; 1993, chap. 6). By the latter half of the 1960s, the Army was deeply riven by class and by race, and draftees, though only 36 percent of the total army in 1969,18 bore the heaviest burden in Vietnam (88 percent of infantry riflemen, more than half of all battle deaths). This suggests that the AVF did not in fact mark a critical juncture: the mass army does not deserve much credit for sustaining a political culture of obligation, and the AVF does not deserve much blame for the contemporary culture of rights. The discursive and ideological link between service and citizenship, drawn from hoary Western norms, is normally depicted as having been foundational to and a relative constant within American political culture. Yet institutionally it is not the volunteer force but the mass army that is the greater departure from historical practice. Given a history of institutional variation and (supposed) cultural stability, why presume that the more recent cultural changes have institutional foundations? I will in fact argue later that there appears to be little relationship between the military recruitment system and the strength of the citizen-soldier ideal. In the era of the AVF, the citizen-soldier is alive and well.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 12 Finally, an underlying assumption is that mass armies relying on conscription have typically been more representative. Yet, in the United States and elsewhere, there is little evidence to support this view. During the US Civil War, those called to the Union Army could hire substitutes to take their place, a practice with a distinguished international lineage. In many countries, the wealthy have evaded military service, and having been called to the colors and having been compelled to obey was a sure sign of political impotence and a lack of means. In other countries, where military service was proof of citizenship, large swaths of the population were specifically excluded so they might be denied political rights as well.19 Can such systems be designed in more representative ways? Certainly. But there is no guarantee that they will be-- and more often than not, they have not. The Military Melting Pot. The mass army has also been idealized as a cauldron in which Americans of different ethnicities, races, and religions were mixed together and refined into a cohesive political community. One of the mass army's enduring myths--in the United States and elsewhere--is that, because it brought together individuals of various backgrounds in common cause and in a collaborative spirit, it provided a setting well-suited to breaking down fundamental social cleavages. Required to perform common tasks in a highly structured environment and in close quarters, individuals escaped the strictures of parochial commitments. With these tasks of vital importance to national security, there was a supportive normative milieu, enforced by orders down the chain of command. Soldiers emerged cognizant that they were constitutive pieces of a larger project (Butler and Wilson 1978; Moskos 1993). When immigrants and native-born would rub "elbows in a common service to a common Fatherland," one-time US Assistant Secretary of War Henry Breckinridge maintained in 1916, "out comes the hyphenup goes the Stars and Stripes... Universal military service will be the elder brother of
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 13 the public school in fusing this American race" (Breckinridge 1916, 16). The mass army was, in short, an institutional environment conducive to the operation of the "contact hypothesis."20 These dreams inspired yet ultimately frustrated US military planners during World War I, but World War II has been widely acclaimed as having brought them to fruition (Gerstle 2001, 22037). Mythologizers of the mass army maintain that "the tired melting-pot metaphor is for once apt. ... The student of architecture and the Navajo, the college boy and the Italian American from Oakland are wonderfully commingled in a transcending mission. The survivors--most survive-- are immensely the better for their service together" (Bunting III 2005 16). For hundreds of thousands of American men who came of age between World War II and Vietnam, military service was a common experience, a cement that bound them, and American society, together. Critics of the AVF maintain that it dissolved that cement and that the country has since come unglued. What is needed is a new shared experience--military or otherwise--that might serve as the basis for national identity
(Moskos 1988, 1993). This conclusion, and the concomitant policy recommendations, follow logically if one accepts the premises, but in fact the role of the mass military experience in molding the American nation has been oversold.21 First, even sophisticated versions of the contact hypothesis are theoretically indeterminate (Forbes 1997; Stephan 1985). True understanding of others may just as easily contribute to deadlock and the recognition of incompatibility as to commonality. The prospect of extensive contact may even promote anxiety and suspicion, and thereby lower the likelihood of intergroup cooperation and good feeling. Moreover, despite an active research program that has flourished for decades, the causal claim of the contact hypothesis remains unverified: numerous studies have reported a positive correlation between interaction with outgroup members and friendly attitudes toward that group, but it remains possible that these
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 14 positive views are the reason for high levels of interaction rather than the consequence. In short, the contact hypothesis cannot provide a solid theoretical foundation for the military melting pot. Second, even if contact did inculcate national sentiment, the lessons absorbed within one social context are not necessarily transferable or transferred. Soldiers may well behave in line with military norms as long as they are on base or in uniform, but they may act more parochially on other occasions and especially when they have returned to civilian life. For instance, after desegregation, American black soldiers earned their white counterparts' respect and admiration for their battlefield bravery. But such learning was highly bounded, for social barriers remained intact. The US military is today probably the least racist institution in American society, but its achievements have largely been limited to the workplace: "the more military the environment, the more complete the integration" (Moskos and Butler 1996, 2). Third, even if military service could powerfully influence individuals' fundamental identity commitments across social contexts, that influence need not prove long-lasting--despite the fact that conscripts and volunteers typically serve during their "impressionable" years. To the extent that attitudes persist, they do so because individuals tend, by their mid-thirties, to have fairly stable social network
s. But when social networks are disrupted change is likely as beliefs are exposed to challenge (Alwin 1991). The implication is that the attitudinal impact of military service depends on the post-service social environment. Veterans, however, generally reenter nonveteran social networks upon discharge, and they face strong pressures to leave their military past behind and adapt to civilian ways. In fact, among US soldiers who have experienced combat, views on numerous matters, notably on the possibility of inter-racial camaraderie, have reverted upon discharge toward the preservice norm (Lawrence and Kane 1995/96).22
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 15 Finally, the claim presumes that the vast majority of young American males shared this experience between the early 1940s and early 1970s and that those who did serve were representative of the nation at large. However, a broad-based draft operated only from World War II through the Korean War. Beginning in the second half of the 1950s, conscription supplied an increasingly small portion of the military's manpower, and it worked with self-selection to skew the enlisted toward the lower middle class and minorities. It is common to attribute mass effects to allegedly widespread military service, yet armies based on near-universal conscription are historically rare. Even at the height of the military's popularity as a nation-building device, in the late 19th century, talk of universal conscription was generally just that: most European powers drafted only between one-fifth and one-half of each cohort. Properly Locating the Roots of Liberal Citizenship More than merely an institution reflecting the rampant commodification of modern American life, the AVF, it is often claimed, ushered in a different model of citizenship. Market-based military recruitment bears substantial responsibility for the spread of a culture of rights in which civic virtue is no longer prized, obligations are hardly acknowledged, and market-based solutions to social problems have proliferated (Janowitz 1983).23 Thanks to the AVF, few Americans any longer truly grasp the meaning of sacrifice. Critics of the AVF are right to note a transformation in the dominant citizenship discourse, but they are wrong to attribute this to the AVF. In fact, the roots of liberal citizenship very much precede the AVF, and the turn to volunteer recruitment was more a response to, than a cause of, these broader developments. Before the First World War, the dominant discourse of citizenship was republican. The first decades of the twentieth century witnessed a vibrant public debate over the meaning of
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 16 citizenship. "This public discourse about citizenship," Kimberly Jensen notes, "focused, above all, on participatory citizenship by emphasizing the duty and the privilege of citizens to act in support of the nation" (Jensen 1996, 141). The Great War only reinforced these trends. Americans were urged to tighten their belts for the good of their boys fighting overseas, the country, and even Western civilization, and those who did so freely were touted as heroes (Cuff 1977). Grounded in America's vast network of Voluntary Organizations
, a coercive program took shape to compel reluctant citizens to do their part, creating a paradoxical milieu in which people were obliged to volunteer (Capozzola 2002). Woodrow Wilson
thus argued that, if America was to win the war, "it needs each man, not in the field that will most pleasure him, but in the endeavor that will best serve the common good" (Wilson 1917, 397-98). Many Americans tried to evade their wartime commitments, but this in no way undermined the power of the republican citizenship ideal. It is not accidental that opponents of anti-immigration legislation regularly made mention in the mid-1920s of the wartime contributions of South and East European newcomers (Gerstle 2001, 117-18). Nor is it accidental that postwar African-American claims for first-class citizenship were predominantly framed around battlefield sacrifice (Krebs 2006, 127-34).24 This republican focus on civic participation would give way, however, to a more liberal and individualist citizenship discourse by the late 1940s. While the Great Depression and the Second World War combined to legitimize an expanded federal role, the mobilization rhetorics of that war and the succeeding Cold War crystallized around America's defense of individual rights
regardless of ascriptive characteristics (Gerstle 2001, 192-201; Skrentny 2002, 21-57; Winkler 1978, 38-72). The Cold War solidified liberalism's place over its competitors: the Soviet Union was portrayed as Nazi Germany's twin, another totalitarian state that trampled upon the
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 17 individual (Arendt 1951). Americans might not have been able to articulate what united them, but they knew what they were not (Scheppele 2003), and the confrontation with Nazism and Soviet communism deeply shaped both US law and dominant conceptions of citizenship.25 In his 1948 State of the Union address, President Truman averred that "any denial of human rights is a denial of the basic beliefs of democracy and of our regard for the worth of the individual.... Whether discrimination is based on race, or creed, or color, or land of origin, it is utterly contrary to American ideals of democracy"" (Truman 1948, 3). Not only was this an effort to scrub the American tradition clean of racism, but it also underplayed how radically new was the very idea of "human rights": foundational rights, prior to and irrespective of positive law, to which all human beings were entitled, regardless of their contributions to the common good (Henkin 1990; Primus 1999). Later that year, the new UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
, reflecting liberalism's triumph internationally as well as domestically. Civil rights activists in the United States perceived this well, and although they intensified their claims-making in the wake of the Second World War, they framed their claims not around military performance and sacrifice, as they had some twenty-five years before, but around fundamental individual freedoms and the liberal tradition (Krebs 2006, 153-67). If the traditional link between military service and citizenship has indeed been dissolved, as many claim--and that is open to question--then that development came well before the introduction of the AVF. Debates over the status of conscientious objectors are revealing. During World War I, the US Supreme Court
ruled that those who refused to bear arms in the nation's defense could not lay claim to citizenship, thus reflecting the civic republican tradition. However, some twenty-five years later, during World War II, Congress severed that connection, passing a law enabling noncombatant conscientious objectors to become citizens (Burk 1995,
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 18 514-17).26 In short, there is evidence of movement away from militarized republican norms some thirty years before the end of the draft. Not only was the AVF hardly responsible for the emergence of liberal citizenship, it was in part a product of that transformation. Despite the intensity of the perceived threat in the early Cold War period, President Truman's call for universal military training could gain little traction in such a political climate. Justifying political obligation, particularly the most costly of duties, was difficult when the dominant citizenship discourse was liberal (Walzer 1970). Selective Service was retained, and many were drafted as long as a hot war raged in Korea. But, well before Vietnam, there were vigorous debates, inside and outside the administration, about ending the draft. As the number of voluntary enlistments grew, the number of young men conscripted declined considerably over the course of the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s; in 1958, 70 percent of twenty-six-year-old men had served in the military, but by 1966--just eight years later!--that number had declined to under half (46 percent) (Cohen 1985, 163). Selective Service sought to deal with the problem of excess supply by granting more deferments, but its ever expanding list of categories could not keep pace. Questions arose about the fairness of the draft, and Senator Barry Goldwater, as part of his 1964 campaign, announced that he would end it, forcing President Johnson to order a study by the Defense Department (Flynn 1993, 186-87; Segal 1989, 33-34). In an environment dominated by a liberal citizenship discourse, there were few rhetorical resources available for sustaining conscription. The draft was not immediately jettisoned, but its days were numbered. Most would identify the Vietnam War as the proximate cause of the draft's demise. Growing doubts among the mass public about the rectitude and practical advisability of the war, combined with revelations about government deception with regard to the war's cost and the likelihood of
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 19 victory, led to increasing public skepticism about whether the state should be entrusted with the coercive authority of which the draft was emblematic (Burk 2001). President Nixon hoped that movement toward ending the draft would quiet student war protesters (which it did, until he dispatched US units into Cambodia in 1970), allow the United States to extricate itself from SouthEast Asia
on its own terms, and ensure his own re-election (Flynn 1993, chap. 7-9).27 And the war's unpopularity had rendered the draft highly inefficient: nearly 600,000 young men illegally evaded the draft, many others exploited the system of deferments and thus stayed in school or married and had children, others delayed service by pursuing the appeals process through Selective Service and then by the courts, and claims of conscientious objection rose dramatically and were more widely accepted thanks to broader legal criteria (Cohen 1985, 165; Flynn 1993, 179-81). All this is true, and the more significant the proximate cause (the war), the less causal weight that might be assigned to deeper causes (such as structural changes in citizenship discourse). Yet, even as the Vietnam War triggered the rejection of conscription, on balance it delayed the turn to volunteer recruitment: the draft might very well have ended even earlier if the United States had not intervened massively in Vietnam in the first place.28 There are of course other plausible explanations for the end of the draft and the embrace of liberal citizenship. Martin Shaw and others have argued that advancing military technology privileged quality over quantity and led to the abandonment of conscription, first in "offshore" states, like Britain and the United States, and eventually in Europe as well (Burk forthcoming; Janowitz 1983, 57; Shaw 1991; 1994, 61-64). Brian Downing has suggested that the rise of liberal individualism has had much to do with unprecedented prosperity: wealthy societies tend to have little appreciation of sacrifice and to be skeptical of authority (Downing 2003; Janowitz 1975, 436).29 Ronald Inglehart
similarly has maintained that economic development fostered the
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 20 spread across the global North of postmaterialist and postmodern values that prize selfexpression more than deference to authority and deem hierarchical and centrally controlled bureaucratic institutions less normatively acceptable (Inglehart 1997): sustaining broad-based military conscription is obviously difficult when such values are prevalent (since there is no institution more hierarchical or authoritarian than the armed forces, and the draft is inherently coercive), as are notions of civic obligation (which presume that individuals have duties beyond expressing themselves). David Segal has maintained that the growth of the welfare state, and thus of benefits and entitlements, nurtured a citizenship premised on rights and devalued a citizenship requiring the performance of duties (Segal 1989, chap. 4).30 These various alternative accounts share a focus on long-term processes of social change, and all would see the introduction of the AVF more as product than as cause. The Citizen-Soldier Still Lives Most scholarly observers assume that the citizen-soldier tradition departed the scene in 1973 along with the draft. Elliot Abrams and Andrew Bacevich
emphatically assert that "the mythic tradition of the citizen-soldier is dead, its fate sealed by changes in the nature of modern war, in the aims of US national security strategy since the end of the Cold War, and in the aspirations and expectations of American citizens" (Abrams and Bacevich 2001). Daniel Moran observes, in a similar vein, that "the legend of the levйe en masse has, to all appearances, lost its grip upon the Western imagination" (Moran 2003, 4). David Segal concludes that military service in the United States has been redefined "from being an obligation of citizenship in a community to being an obligation of national citizenship and, most recently, to being a job" (Segal 1989, 45).31 Eliot Cohen has perhaps most explicitly linked institutional format to the citizen-soldier
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 21 tradition, for he pronounces the latter dead due to changes in the motivation, representativeness, and identity of US forces--that is, due to the AVF (Cohen 2001).32 Yet, to paraphrase Mark Twain
, reports of the demise of the citizen-soldier tradition have been greatly exaggerated. In the conventional narrative, the citizen-soldier tradition, whose roots can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, had been revived by Machiavelli and other continental republican thinkers, taken up enthusiastically in England and thereby brought to the new world, and then entrenched by the American and French Revolutions.33 The US citizen-soldier of World War II was thus the heir to and the pinnacle of a vibrant republican citizenship discourse stretching back to the colonial militias. This tradition thus persisted independent of the national army's recruitment system, which until World War I raised soldiers through voluntary state apparatuses; in fact, because such volunteers did not always come forward readily or predictably, military professionals repeatedly called for the dissolution of the National Guard, which was controlled by the states, and the creation of a dependable national reserve. The AVF represented the nation's first large peacetime standing army raised entirely from volunteers, but a volunteer format, on a smaller scale, has always been seen as compatible with the citizen-soldier tradition. It is puzzling that, with the AVF, that same volunteer format has come to represent a threat to, if not the death of, the citizen-soldier. Rather, the history of the citizen-soldier tradition suggests that culture is at least somewhat independent of institutional configurations. The vibrancy of the citizen-soldier tradition lies not in the number who serve or are drafted or in the nature of the recruitment system. The citizen-soldier lives on in contemporary American discourse.34 President Bill Clinton praised US Naval Academy graduates in 1994: "Regardless of where your careers take you, you clearly understand the imperative of civic duty. There's no brighter badge of citizenship than the path you have chosen and the oath you are about to take."
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 22 Clinton even sought to inject the language of obligation into contemporary citizenship discourse, as in his 1995 State of the Union: "Responsibility, opportunity, and citizenship, more than stale chapters in some remote civic book, they're still the virtue by which we can fulfill ourselves and reach our God-given potential and ... also fulfill the eternal promise of this country, the enduring dream from that first and most sacred covenant."35 Even before the Iraq War, President George W. Bush hailed members of the National Guard and Reserves as "citizen soldiers" who "display values that are central to our Nation: character, courage, and sacrifice." "You demonstrate the highest form of citizenship," the president continued. "And while you may not be full-time soldiers, you are full-time patriots."36 In the United States, it has long been seen as proper to give citizenship to, or at least expedite the naturalization procedures for, aliens who had served in the armed forces, and millions received citizenship in this fashion over the decades (Jacobs and Hayes 1981). If participation in the armed forces was once viewed as evidence of one's worthiness for membership in the national political community, it is still viewed that way. In July 2002, as President Bush
announced that the thousands of non-citizens serving in the US armed forces would immediately be eligible for naturalization, he again proclaimed military service "the highest form of citizenship."37 A Lexis-Nexis search of "major papers" (conducted March 17, 2006) found that, in the last two years, 815 articles included the phrase "citizen-soldier." Even when many were hailing the "peace dividend" of the end of the Cold War, in 1993 and 1994, nearly 150 articles made reference to this allegedly mythical individual. In the last year alone, the number of articles including word pairs such as military and citizen, or military and sacrifice, was so large that the database could not report it. In short, republican discourse has been thriving.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 23 Charles Moskos has argued most baldly that, with the transition to the AVF, republican citizenship (military service as a calling) gave way to occupational (or industrial) citizenship: military service in the AVF became little more than a job (Janowitz 1981; Moskos 1977; Moskos and Wood 1988; Segal 1989).38 If this were the case, we would expect to see superior performance publicly acknowledged as a job well done, perhaps with an "employee of the month" award; loss of life in the ranks represented in purely cost-benefit terms, regretted because it would raise the costs of recruitment and retention; and soldiers treated like other employees in dangerous jobs who are compensated for their calculated risks and whose injuries and deaths are accepted by the public with equanimity. Yet the discourse surrounding US soldiers in Iraq today could not depart further from the expectations of Moskos' occupational model. Soldiers whose performance is extraordinary are recognized as heroes deserving of the nation's gratitude, and soldiers who are killed, especially in combat, are touted as patriots who died for their country. In 1993 Bill Clinton praised the crew of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, and by extension other service-members, for being "the shining model of our American values: dedication, responsibility, a willingness to sacrifice for the common good and for the interests and the very existence of this country."39 President Bush has regularly invoked the language of "patriotism" and "sacrifice" to characterize the work done by US soldiers abroad, an odd word if these truly were workers like any other, offered "hazard pay" for taking on risky assignments.40 Such language is so prevalent in the discourse and so familiar that we show no surprise at it, but it is at odds with the "occupational" conception of military service, and it suggests that the notion of the citizen-soldier is hardly alien, even if it is at a far remove from most Americans' everyday experiences.41
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 24 Perhaps the most vivid illustration of this comes from the US Army's popular video game
, "America's Army." In the spring of 2006, the Army took seven soldiers whose performance in Iraq had been exemplary, created game characters based on their stories and likenesses, named the characters after them, and licensed plastic action figures of these "Real Heroes," as the Army called them (Barnes 2005; Wood 2006).42 The instrumental purpose of the video game in general, and the "Real Heroes" program in particular, is inspiration and recruitment, but they also produce and reproduce a discourse of heroism and self-sacrifice that represents military service as far more than just a job. It may well be that soldiers are publicly represented in this fashion for purely instrumental reasons: on the one hand, the social benefits of service--that is, the high esteem in which veterans are held--may compensate for the dangerous nature of the work and the relatively low pay and serve as an incentive to initial entrance and reenlistment, and, on the other hand, politicians pandering to the military vote may choose to emphasize their civic virtue. But policymakers' motivations matter less than simply the fact that such discourse is publicly reproduced. Such discourse has historically sustained a categorical claim upon the state: as the German historian Otto Hintze put it, "Whoever puts himself in the service of the state must logically and fairly be granted the regular rights of citizenship" (Hintze 1975, 211). Wherever the link between service and citizenship is discursively sustained, it lays the basis for claimsmaking--regardless of whether soldiers are motivated by political obligation, regardless of whether populations in practice welcome or resist the call to arms, regardless of whether policymakers actually believe in the norms to which they publicly assent (Krebs 2006). Assertions that the link between military service and citizenship are broken seem odd when one considers the prominence of the armed forces' manpower policies in contemporary debates
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 25 over the boundaries of the US political community. For example, participants in the "gays in the military" debates of the early-to-mid-1990s early on revealed that they believed far more than military effectiveness to be at stake.43 Both sides thought that the inclusion of gays in the armed forces would have profound consequences for society at large. For social conservatives and liberals alike, the struggle between the Clinton White House and the Pentagon was a bellwether battle in the culture wars. The National Review (1993b) saw "don't ask, don't tell" as "a key victory.... Had Mr. Clinton delivered on his pledge to the gay lobby, he would have opened the way to the next controversy: redefining the family to mean just about anything." On the other side, the Nation (1993a) argued that the campaign was "ultimately the only way to advance society in the direction of sexual tolerance and, more than that, liberation." The journalist Andrew Sullivan placed the military's prohibition of open homosexuals at the top of the gay political agenda. "Its real political power
--and the real source of resistance to it--comes from its symbolism," he insightfully observed. "The acceptance of gay people at the heart of the state, at the core of the notion of patriotism, is anathema to those who wish to consign homosexuals to the margins of society" (Sullivan 1993). Given the imagined stakes, it is not without reason that the US military's policies toward gays became the battleground for a fierce struggle over social values. Yet this would have made little sense if the military were spoken about as nothing more than a job. The "gays in the military" debate was made possible by the persistence of a discourse that continues to tie together the performance of military service, the display of civic virtue, and the claim to effective citizenship rights. Conclusion
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 26 Critics of the AVF idealize the mass army, blame the AVF for broader cultural developments of which it is itself the product, and overstate the death of the citizen-soldier. But they are nevertheless correct to be concerned about the state of contemporary American civic engagement
and the health of American democracy. I am sympathetic to their view that Americans are today too disengaged from each other and from the polity and that public policy and public institutions
should be designed to rebuild those bonds. Yet the solution is certainly not a new military draft--even critics of the AVF generally recognize that the draft is politically (and, from their point of view, regrettably) unsustainable--nor even a universal national service program that is cast as a poor cousin of and replacement for military service. The central problem with both of these popular options is that they rest on a militarized republican citizenship ideal. Admirers of the citizen-soldier tradition too rarely note how that tradition not only created opportunities for the expansion of democracy, but also imposed constraints on democratic participation and contestation. Historically republicanism has imagined a citizenry composed of men, of men of substance, and of men in the mainstream. While contemporary advocates for republican citizenship persuasively argue that republicanism, properly understood, can accommodate and contribute to feminist, socialist, and multiculturalist agendas (Pettit 1997, 13846), republicanism's history in practice has often been an unsavory one. True, propertyless white veterans in the United States exploited republican citizenship discourse to bring down property requirements for suffrage in the first decades of the nineteenth century, but that same discourse also frustrated American women's efforts to gain the vote throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. African-Americans have been inspired by and sought to exploit their battlefield sacrifices to press for first-class citizenship, but after World War I, when their performance under fire was attacked and perceived as below the bar, they found the
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 27 path to full rights once again blocked. As the highest form of civic virtue, military service has often been treated as a prerequisite for full membership in the political community. When republicanism predominates, those who fail to risk their lives on the battlefield cannot persuasively lay claim to the full range of rights. While there are alternative ways of demonstrating virtue, military service has often trumped such signs of commitment. In practice, if not in theory, a militarized republicanism has had a dark anti-democratic side, and that should give us pause before we embrace this ideology or the institutions that embody it. Those seeking to nurture a political culture more attuned to citizens' obligations have been particularly attracted to national service (Dionne Jr. et al. 2003; Evers 1990; Janowitz 1983; Moskos 1988), and a watered-down version of this logic underpinned both Clinton's Americorps program and Bush's USA Freedom Corps. But national service is no panacea: the proposal presumes that culture derives from institutions in some straightforward fashion, but culture is at least somewhat independent, and institutions arguably survive and thrive only in a supportive cultural environment. A central thrust of this article has in fact been that the capacity of institutional configurations (such as recruitment systems) to shape citizenship discourses and cultural values is limited. National service programs can also undermine the larger cultural goals when (as they often do) they hold up the citizen-soldier as the model--when becoming a citizensoldier is beyond the desire, capacity, or ken of most Americans. Such proposals simply reproduce a militarized republican citizenship ideal when what is needed is a truly nonmilitarized version. Mandatory national service is a worthy notion, but it is valuable only insofar as it contributes to the larger cultural struggle that must be waged in the realm of ideals and discourse.44
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 28 The challenge is to forge a political culture protective of liberty, dedicated to civic duty, supportive of solidarity, and committed to broad-based national citizenship. Neither liberalism nor militarized republicanism--the two citizenship discourses most familiar in the West-- provide a sound foundation for meeting those goals. Yet we need not choose between the impoverished politics of liberalism and the potential exclusiveness of a militarized republicanism. We must seek to craft a non-militarized republicanism, in which the performance of public duty is prized but in which civic virtue is not limited to, nor even particularly exemplified by, military service. Creating a new non-militarized basis for civic virtue is an imposing political and philosophical task, given the centrality of the citizen-soldier tradition to Western citizenship discourse in general and US citizenship discourse in particular. And creating a political culture in which political obligations are respected and valued is daunting as well in prosperous industrialized countries. These tasks are among the most essential if Western liberal democracies are to overcome their sclerotic state. Yet our policy instruments for shaping political culture are blunt and their effects are poorly understood. The policy tools are limited in part because the underlying causal stories so tightly tie their hands. If the deeper causes lie in technological change (Shaw 1991) or economic development (Downing 2003; Inglehart 1997), then we should choose poverty or perhaps less discriminating (and more bloody) military technologies
. If the cause lies in the generous provisions of the welfare state (Segal 1989), then we should dramatically scale back those entitlements, at tremendous social cost. Compared to the option of accepting our liberal political culture, these are unattractive options, to say the least. One virtue of the alternative narrative suggested here-- in which the rhetorical moves of national leaders, responding to perceived international exigencies, have persistent effects, which are then reinforced and reproduced by institutions and
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 29 discourse--is that it suggests that we do not live in a world of material constraints alone. If rhetorical representations of reality create and continuously sustain political culture, the exercise of rhetorical agency can also transform that culture. Discourses of citizenship change when people, especially national leaders who enjoy an attentive media and are socially positioned to speak for the nation, talk in new ways about citizens' obligations to the state and to each other. Such an opportunity to reshape American political culture may have presented itself after the attacks of 9/11, but President Bush, and many others across the political spectrum, failed to seize the moment. In other words, there is a profound role here for agency that alternative accounts fail to recognize. Calling for rhetorical entrepreneurs to grasp opportunities may not seem like a satisfying policy recommendation, but they are among the key mechanisms of cultural change-- and they are all we have.
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Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 34 President's Commission. 1970. Report of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force. New York: Macmillan. Primus, Richard A. 1999. The American Language of Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rangel, Charles. 2002. "Bring Back the Draft." New York Times, 31 December. Ricks, Thomas. 1997. Making the Corps: Sixty-One Men Came to Parris Island to Become Marines, Not All of Them Made It. New York: Scribner. Sackett, Paul, and Anne Mavor. 2003. Attitudes, Aptitudes, and Aspirations of American Youth: Implications for Military Recruitment. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Sandel, Michael. 1998. "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets." Presented at Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Oxford University. Sandel, Michael J. 1984. "The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self." Political Theory 12 (1):81-96. Scarville, Jacquelyn, et al. 1999. Armed Forces Equal Opportunity Survey. Defense Manpower Data Center Report No. 97-027. Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense. Scheppele, Kim Lane. 2003. "Aspirational and Aversive Constitutionalism: The Case for Studying Cross-Constitutional Influence Through Negative Models." International Journal of Constitutional Law 1 (2):296-324. Segal, David R. 1986. "Measuring the Institutional/Occupational Change Thesis." Armed Forces and Society 12 (3):351-76. -----------. 1989. Recruiting for Uncle Sam: Citizenship and Military Manpower Policy. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Shaw, Martin. 1991. Post-Military Society: Militarism, Demilitarisation, and War at the End of the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Polity. -----------. 1994. "Theses on a Post-Military Europe: Conscription, Citizenship, and Militarism After the Cold War." In Social Change and Political Transformation, edited by Chris Rootes and Howard Davis. London: UCL Press. Skrentny, John David. 2002. The Minority Rights Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Stephan, Walter G. 1985. "Intergroup Relations." In Handbook of Social Psychology, edited by Gardner Lindzey and Elliot Aronson. New York: Random House
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Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 35 Winkler, Allan M. 1978. The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 19421945. New Haven: Yale University Press. Wong, Edward. 2005. "Swift Road for U.S. Citizen Soldiers Already Fighting in Iraq." New York Times, 9 August. Wood, Sgt. Sara. 2006. "Pentagon Soldier Honored as Action Figure, Video Character." American Forces Press Service, http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2006/20060503_5000.html, 3 May. Woodruff, Todd, et al. 2006. "Propensity to Serve and Motivation to Enlist Among American Combat Soldiers." Armed Forces and Society 32 (3):353-66.
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1 Calls for a new draft, either for military or other forms of national service, picked up toward the end of and after the Cold War. See, among others, Hart 1998; Kaus 1992, 79-85; Moskos 1988; Ricks 1997. For more recent installments of this debate, some expressly in response to 9/11 or the Iraq War, see also Broyles Jr. 2004; Bunting III 2005; Carter and Glastris 2005; Dao 2004; Kennedy 2005; Meyers 1999; Moskos 2002; Rangel 2002. 2 To counter recruiting shortfalls during the Iraq War, the Army offered massive signing bonuses, lowered its admissions standards, accepted recruits who would have normally been barred because of criminal records or alcohol and illegal drug problems, and reduced its recruitment goals--yet it still had trouble hitting its targets, until the fall of 2005 when the trend suddenly and surprisingly reversed. Initially, the Army's problems compelled it to extend tours of duty through stop-loss orders and to make limited use of the Individual Ready Reserve. Meanwhile, the National Guard and the Reserves were being more heavily exploited than ever before, and their recruitment challenges were even greater. Recruiters have been under immense pressure, and recruiting violations have consequently been prevalent. 3 Concerns over the viability of the All-Volunteer Force did not much diminish, however. The debate persisted well into the 1980s: see General Accounting Office 1988. 4 For criticism of these traditional measures of recruit quality, see Hosek and Mattock 2003. For general discussion, see Armor and Sackett 2004. 5 The Army did not, however, display a similar capacity to learn with regard to doctrine. The dominant Army narrative of Vietnam blamed the defeat on civilians who allegedly had failed to mobilize public opinion and had hamstrung the military by interfering in operational and tactical
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 37 decisions (see Summers Jr. 1982; for a critique, see Krepinevich Jr. 1986). These lessons were enshrined in Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger's preconditions for military operations and more famously in the so-called Powell Doctrine. 6 Perhaps even more, however, have criticized the over-representation of minorities. Despite the voluntary nature of service, it strikes many as inequitable that disadvantaged minorities should risk their lives defending the interests of the dominant classes. Moreover, many question whether a socially unrepresentative armed forces can, in a democracy, long retain its legitimacy. 7 It has been observed that the US military is "an organization unmatched in its level of racial integration...[,] unmatched in its broad record of black achievement...[, and] the only place in American life where whites are routinely bossed around by blacks" (Moskos and Butler 1996, 2). But there remain obstacles to African-American advancement in the armed forces, and blacks are acutely conscious of discrimination: see Scarville, et al. 1999. On the economic advantages for minorities within military service, see Philips, et al. 1992. 8 For collections that generally celebrate the AVF, though individual essays are often quite honest about its early problems and continual challenges, see Bicksler, et al. 2004; Bowman, et al. 1986; Fredland, et al. 1996. 9 Patriotism has hardly been irrelevant as a motivational factor, particularly among officer recruits (Franke 2000; Sackett and Mavor 2003; Woodruff, et al. 2006). Yet, although patriotism suggests an identification with the nation-state, it is orthogonal to the negotiated relationship between populations and authorities that lies at the heart of citizenship. 10 Charles Moskos regards such recruitment strategies as misguided and suggests that recruitment problems would be alleviated if the ideal of the citizen-soldier were revived through the introduction of a truly short-term enlistment option (Moskos 2002). Yet Moskos seems less
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 38 concerned with rectifying recruitment shortfalls than with inculcating republican citizenship ideals. As he put it over two decades ago, "The grand design is that the ideal of citizenship obligation ought to become part of growing up in America" (Moskos 1981, 34). 11 However, the Iraq War appears to have produced a plethora of veteran candidates at all levels of government. Whether they will prove victorious in the 2006 elections remains to be seen. See Dao and Nagourney 2006. 12 Some argue that a voluntary force is "a standing invitation" to "military adventurism": a volunteer army has made it easy for Washington decision-makers to opt for war, for they would not bear the costs of conflict (Kennedy 2005). Yet professional armies seem in fact to be marked by greater casualty sensitivity. Charles Moskos attributes this to equity concerns: "only when privileged youth are on the firing line do war losses become more acceptable" (Moskos 2001; 2002, 85). Eliot Cohen suggests that this is due not to social pressures, but to "the military's own changing scales of human values" (Cohen 2001). 13 It is an open question whether contemporary Americans could summon the will if called upon and whether politicians would actually make such a request. President George W. Bush's response to the attacks of September 11 might be seen as epitomizing how contemporary US political culture has gone off the rails. Rather than call on Americans, as had John F. Kennedy during the Cold War, to ask what they could do for their country, even to the point of laying their lives on the line, Bush urged Americans after September 11 to lay their wallets on the store counter. Asked whether Americans would need to make sacrifices in the "war on terror," Bush declared, "I think the American people are sacrificing now." How? "I think they're waiting in airport lines longer than they've ever had [to] before." The repeated comparisons between the war on terror and the Second World War, through the juxtapositions of 9/11 and Pearl Harbor as
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 39 well as of Osama Bin Laden
and Hitler, cast in bold relief the difference between the continual small sacrifice of time and convenience of the former and the continuous great sacrifice of blood and treasure of the latter. 14 I am, however, less critical of Cohen's claims regarding the volunteer format's impact on military professionalism and corporate identity. That said, such an identity emerged in the US armed forces well before the 1970s, since voluntary recruitment was the norm throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Moreover, even during the era of the mass army, the officer corps was filled largely on a voluntary basis, and the postWorld War II armed forces is typically hailed for its professionalism. 15 See also Segal 1986, 354. 16 More consistent with "consent theory" were African-American and women's political behavior during World War I, and even African-American behavior in the latter half of World War II, as these groups abided by the existing citizenship bargain. They devoted themselves fully to the war effort, sometimes going so far as to set aside entirely their political program for full citizenship rights, hoping thereby to prove their worthiness and lay the foundation for effective postwar claims-making. 17 This was true on the whole, but populations were still over-represented in certain services and under-represented in others. For example, African-Americans were very much under-represented in this era in the US Navy and in combat formations, and over-represented in support units. See Nalty 1986. 18 It should be noted, however, that many "voluntarily" enlisted during the Vietnam War to avoid the uncertainty of the draft and gain greater control over their fate. 19 In general, see de Bohigas 1968; Kohn 1981.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 40 20 For the seminal work on the contact hypothesis, see Allport 1954. For recent reviews, see Brewer and Brown 1998, 576-83; Pettigrew 1998. 21 For a comprehensive comparative discussion and analysis, see Krebs 2004. 22 For suggestive findings to the contrary, see Feaver and Gelpi 2004. 23 For a general critique of the commodification of modern America, with specific attention to the AVF, see Sandel 1998, esp. 109-14. For a defense of the AVF and a general critique of the communitarian stance, see Posner 2003. 24 This republican citizenship model was also very much wrapped up with a racialist strain that had infected American discourse beginning particularly in the 1890s, as the nation's egalitarian ideals had come to seem increasingly antiquated. 25 For a similar account, see also Burk 1995; 2001. Burk emphasizes in addition the increasing acceptance of civil disobedience as a tactic to promote civil rights and the waning of traditional religious authority
. Yet both may be attributed, at least in part if not in whole, to the liberal turn. 26 This, in and of itself, is not, however, proof of the death of republican citizenship, since the claims of these conscientious objectors were bolstered by their willingness to perform noncombatant service on behalf of the nation. In other words, they were still willing to display civic virtue, but of a nonmilitarized variety. On the history of conscientious objection in the United States, see Chambers II 1993. 27 An ideological commitment to the virtues of free markets also played a role in the turn to the AVF. The key document is the report of the Gates Commission (President's Commission 1970). For overviews and assessments, see Bachman, et al. 1977; Cohen 1985, 162-70; Cowen 2006. 28 On the end of the draft, see Lee and Parker 1977.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 41 29 For a related observation, regarding the inability of mass publics in hegemonic states to sustain sacrifice over the long term, see Gilpin 1981, 162-63. 30 If Segal is right, this is particularly ironic, since the welfare state was in part the product of mobilization pressures due to international threat and concomitant renegotiations of the citizenship-service bargain. 31 Segal does, however, maintain that military service can be both an obligation and a job, and thus he criticizes Moskos for suggesting that these categories are mutually exclusive. See Segal 1986; 1989. 32 See also Bachman, et al. 1977, 153-55; Morgan 2003; Moskos 1993; and many others cited earlier. 33 On the citizen-soldier tradition, see Cohen 1985, chap. 5; Janowitz 1976. 34 James Burk points out, in a balanced assessment, that there remain various institutional elements of the citizen-soldier tradition. The US Supreme Court has continually affirmed that government may demand military service of its citizens and that citizens must obey when called. Moreover, after Vietnam, the Army redesigned its system so that large-scale combat operations would require the support of the National Guard and the Reserves, thus ensuring that the population at large would be engaged in the war (Burk 2001). 35 Remarks at the United States Naval Academy Commencement Ceremony (Annapolis, MD), 25 May 1994; State of the Union Address, 24 January 1995--both in Public Papers of the President [hereafter, PPP], available at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws. 36 Remarks to National Guard Personnel and Reservists (Charleston, SC), 14 February 2001, PPP. See also, among many others, Remarks at a Reenlistment Ceremony on the 30th Anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force, 1 July 2003, and Proclamation 7705--Citizenship Day
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 42 and Constitution Week, 16 September 2003; Remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention (Salt Lake City, UT), 22 August 2005; Remarks to the National Guard Association of the United States, 9 February 2006--all in PPP. 37 Address, 4 July 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/07/20020704-3.html, accessed 14 July 2004. See also Wong 2005. 38 Moskos drew on elements of Morris Janowitz' classic observations on the transformation of the military profession (Janowitz 1960), but, for Janowitz, the beginnings of the shift from soldier-warrior to soldier-manager had preceded the AVF by two decades: the AVF was, for Janowitz, more product than cause. Janowitz himself recognized the intellectual lineage of Moskos' provocations, but was critical of Moskos' formulation for its presumption that increased civilianization was synonymous with the end of military professionalism (Janowitz 1977). For an important empirical (and implicitly conceptual) critique, see Segal 1986. 39 Remarks to the Crew of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, 12 March 1993, PPP. See also Remarks at the United States Military Academy Commencement Ceremony (West Point, NY), 29 May 1993, PPP. 40 See, among countless others, President's Radio Address, 23 April 2005; Address to the Nation on Iraq and the War on Terror, 18 December 2005; Remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 10 January 2006; Remarks to the American Legion, 24 February 2006--all in PPP. 41 That said, the mobilization of large elements of the US National Guard to serve in Iraq has narrowed that distance. In informal surveys of my large lecture classes at the University of Minnesota, I have found that nearly all of my students know, within at most two degrees of separation, a reservist who has been mobilized, and often they know someone who has been severely injured or killed in Iraq.
Myths of the All-Volunteer Force · 43 42 See also http://www.americasarmy.com/intel/realheroes.php, accessed 19 June 2006. 43 Cold arguments about efficiency cannot explain the intensity of the conservatives' resistance to even an experiment or gay leaders' deep sense of betrayal when the Clinton administration announced the "don't ask, don't tell" compromise. 44 National service may have other important benefits, such as providing social services that the marketplace fails to deliver or that would be too costly for the state otherwise to provide. See Moskos 1988.