What's wrong with the All-Volunteer Force (AVF)? Perhaps nothing...until Iraq. Three decades old, the AVF arguably worked, carrying us post-Vietnam through the Cold War, the minor conflicts of the 1990s, and into Afghanistan. For peacetime-even messy peace-and for small, quick wars, the AVF has been an acceptable answer. But our Iraq experience shows the deep flaws of the AVF concept.
The AVF contains three implicit promises, all broken in Iraq:
* Quantity: we will always have enough fighters to meet our requirements.
* Quality: they will always have the capabilities and training they need.
* Character: our military won't alter its relationship to our democratic society.