Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


Reassessing the All-Volunteer Force

Journal Article

Karl Eikenberry - William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at CISAC, CDDRL, TEC, and Shorenstein APARC Distinguished Fellow; and Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Retired U.S. Army Lt. General

Published by
The Washington Quarterly, Winter 2013, page(s): 7-24
December 18, 2013

Karl Eikenberry, former ambassador to Afghanistan and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General, argues that although successful, the American All-Volunteer Force has developed liabilities due to weak political oversight and internal accountability of its senior leadership. These liabilities ultimately weaken the insitution by making the U.S. military the go-to solution for foreign policy problems and insulating defense spending and preventing economically sustainable cuts to the military. Additionally, elilminating mandatory military service has also weakened American civic virtue by pushing civic responsiblities on others. All these liabilities warrant a critical look.