A Department of Defense 2011 Status of Forces survey indicated that 57 percent of active troops today are the children of current or former active or reserve members of the armed forces. And a recent Gallup poll showed that despite the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a much smaller percentage of those who’ve reached military age since Sept. 11, 2001, have served than in previous decades.
Part of it is simple demographics. While the U.S. population has grown since the draft ended in 1973, the military has shrunk. But this all-volunteer force appears to be passing from generation to generation, bringing up the worrying notion that the United States is developing a warrior class.
The fear among some military leaders, politicians and experts begins with the belief that as fewer segments of society have family or friends in uniform, others become desensitized to the risks and stresses of military service. The feared risks range from a reluctance to fully support those who serve to an almost cavalier willingness to wage war, reasoning, “That’s what they signed up for.”
Do you think the all-volunteer military is the best option for our nation’s defense?