The war in Iraq and the problematic military occupation of that country have called into question the adequacy of America's all-volunteer force. Politicians and others have expressed doubts about its equity and capability; some have called for the reinstatement of the draft. Yet over the past twenty years the all-volunteer military has become a technologically advanced force that has contributed to America's overall military advantage. This book analyzes current military pay and personnel policies and identifies changes needed to maintain and improve America's all-volunteer force.
Filling the Ranks argues that to attract qualified and motivated volunteers, the armed forces need to offer better tangible inducements—pay, benefits, and training—to accompany such intangible rewards as pride in serving one's country. Many of the policies related to tangible rewards were established shortly after World War II and are no longer effective. Filling the Ranks presents detailed assessments of US military pay and personnel policies in light of the strategic, demographic, economic, and labor realities of the future. It identifies specific problems that today's military career patterns, training, pay, and benefits pose for officers and enlisted men and women in both active duty and reserve forces, discussing such issues as competition with the private sector for talent, the need to restructure compensation, and provision of family support. It offers recommendations for more flexible, adaptive, and effective policies and a blueprint for achieving them.
Motivated, able, and well-trained military personnel are essential to the success of any military, and personnel policies are crucial to getting and keeping qualified servicemen and women. The transformation of personnel policies is an important element of the broader transformation occurring in Western militaries. Across Europe and North America, nations are embracing plans to change military personnel policies to build future capabilities consistent with new strategic environments and with the demographic and societal realities of the future. For many nations, a key reform is to shift from a conscript military to a smaller, all-volunteer force. Other important reforms include expanding recruitment capacity, improving working conditions, revamping career paths, overhauling compensation systems and increasing military pay, modernizing pension plans, improving the quality of life for military members and their families, and improving the post-service prospects for those who serve.Service to Country explores the ongoing transformation of military personnel policies in Europe and North America, looking at causes as well as potential costs and benefits of personnel policy transformation. Contributors to the volume, from both Europe and North America, include experts from militaries, governments, universities, and think tanks; practitioners and scholars; economists, political scientists, sociologists, and a demographer.Contributors:Jennifer Buck, Deborah Clay-Mendez, Sylvain Daffix, Chris Donnelly, Curtis Gilroy, Keith Hartley, Hannu Herranen, Bertel Heurlin, Jolyon Howorth, Gerhard Kümmel, Juan Lopez Diaz, Karen McKenney, Mihaela Matei, Vincent Medina, Sebastian Negrusa, Cyr-Denis Nidier, Bernard Rostker, Robert St. Onge, Rickard Sandell, Peter Šveç, Vaidotas Urbelis, Domenico Villani, John Warner, Cindy Williams, John D. Winkler
Since the end of the Cold War, the US military has reduced its combat forces by 40 percent, closed about 20 percent of its bases, and withdrawn from many overseas posts. Even after these changes, the US military is by far the strongest in the world, with huge advantages in training, equipment, and technology. Despite cutting its annual spending by about 30 percent, the United States spends more than the countries with the six next-largest military budgets combined.
Heated debates continue to rage over US military spending. In the late 1990s, many commentators claimed that spending was too low, and the defense budget began to increase for the first time since the mid-1980s. Others argued that the United States had taken on too many military missions—including frequent humanitarian interventions or peacekeeping operations—and needed to scale back these deployments.
Holding the Line presents objective and detailed assessments of the US defense budget and America's military strategy. Its contributors conclude that the United States must reshape its military to face the real challenges of the coming decades. They call for smaller US forces with more modern weapons, sensors, avionics, and communications systems. They offer recommendations that would enable the US military to transform its forces and make them more effective, while holding the line on defense budget increases.