The United States has engaged in several long and costly wars with an all-volunteer military. How has this fact affected the troops and our ability to react to threats around the globe? What does this mean for the troops who have been serving back-to-back deployments?
The Nixon administration abolishing the draft "was seen by uniformed leaders as a betrayal and as a purely political maneuver, designed to quell antiwar protests that had begun on college campuses with the burning of draft cards, and had spread throughout the country," wrote James Kitfield for National Journal.
That plan worked, but some worried how this would change the rank makeup and its relation to the public.
More from National Journal:
Among those who did worry, albeit briefly, were the members of the Gates Commission, whom Nixon charged with implementing an end to the draft, and who in 1970 unanimously recommended the adoption of an all-volunteer force. Headed by former Defense Secretary Thomas Gates Jr., the commission acknowledged some potential drawbacks: a military that might be increasingly isolated from society and thus possibly a threat to civilian control of the government; a force whose ranks might be filled disproportionately by racial minorities or lower-income recruits, creating a semipermanent military underclass; a possible decline in the public's concern with foreign policy issues; and a political class in Washington potentially more inclined toward "military adventurism." But none of those concerns was enough to prevent the commission from endorsing the idea.
On The Daily Circuit, we look at the current state of the U.S. military and how it affects our willingness to send troops into harm's way.