The Public Interest

How to save the All-Volunteer Force

Charles C. Moskos

Fall 1980

THE All-Volunteer Force is on the ragged edge of survival. Since the end of the draft in 1973, the military services have been hard pressed to meet recruitment goals. Enlistment shortfalls are keenly felt among ground combat units and aboard warships. Educational levels of new recruits continue to drop. More than one in three service members do not complete their initial enlistments. A growing number of skilled technicians are leaving the military; retention of qualified people in the career force has become an acute problem. Army Reserve and National Guard units are some 125,000 members short of the goals set by Congress. The Individual Ready Reserve-soldiers with prior military training who are to be available in the event of mobilization-is more than 300,000 under stated requirements. 

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