The U.S. Department of Defense underwent several significant changes in 1973. First, the law that empowered the draft expired when Congress didn’t extend it, and the all-volunteer force (AVF) was born. Second, Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger initiated “the Total Force Policy which integrates the active, Guard, and Reserve forces into a homogeneous whole.” Lindsay Cohn is in the studio to discuss the impact these force management changes have had on civil-military relations. She joins guest host Carrie Lee to consider how eliminating the draft and expanding the reserve component changed how the military interacted with the citizens of the nation. This is the fourth episode in a multi-part special series supporting the U.S. Army War College’s Civil-Military Relations Center.
Americans have never liked the draft. It’s never been popular. There have been times when it has been tolerated, and certainly some segments of the population view it as a solution to certain types of problems…But the American public in general has never been supportive of a draft.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.
Lindsay P. Cohn is Associate Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, where she teaches strategy, international security, foreign policy analysis, and civil-military relations. Her research and publications focus on civil-military relations, manpower and personnel issues, public opinion and foreign policy, comparative political economy, militarized policing, and national/international security law.
Carrie A. Lee is an associate professor at the U.S. Army War College, where she serves as the chair of the Department of National Security and Strategy and director of the USAWC Center on Civil-Military Relations. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and a B.S. from MIT.
Photo Description: A sign greets all new members of the Army arriving at the U.S. Army Reception Station in Fort Knox, Ky. on April 29, 1965.
Photo Credit: National Archives And Records Administration