Modern American Military
Overview - The advent of the all-volunteer force and the evolving nature of modern warfare have transformed our military, changing it in serious if subtle ways that few Americans are aware of. Edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy, this stimulating volume brings together insights from a remarkable group of scholars, who shed important new light on the changes effecting today's armed forces. Read more...
More About Modern American Military by David M. Kennedy
The advent of the all-volunteer force and the evolving nature of modern warfare have transformed our military, changing it in serious if subtle ways that few Americans are aware of. Edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy, this stimulating volume brings together insights from a remarkable group of scholars, who shed important new light on the changes effecting today's armed forces.
Beginning with a Foreword by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, the contributors take an historical approach as they explore the ever-changing strategic, political, and fiscal contexts in which the armed forces are trained and deployed, and the constantly shifting objectives that they are tasked to achieve in the post-9/11 environment. They also offer strong points of view. Lawrence Freedman, for instance, takes the leadership to task for uncritically embracing the high-tech Revolution in Military Affairs when "conventional" warfare seems increasingly unlikely. And eminent psychiatrist Jonathan Shay warns that the post-battle effects of what he terms "moral wounds" currently receive inadequate attention from the military and the medical profession. Perhaps most troubling, Karl Eikenberry raises the issue of the "political ownership" of the military in an era of all-volunteer service, citing the argument that, absent the political protest common to the draft era, government decision-makers felt free to carry out military operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Andrew Bacevich goes further, writing that "it's no longer our army; it hasn't been for years; it's theirs the government's] and they intend to keep it."
Looking at such issues as who serves and why, the impact of non-uniformed "contractors" in the war zone, and the growing role of women in combat, this volume brings together leading thinkers who illuminate the American military at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
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When the draft was abolished in 1973, proponents of an all-volunteer army enthusiastically looked forward to a cheaper, more democratic, and more accountable military. What they didn’t foresee was the slow and steady critical disengagement of Congress, citizens, and the media from the goings-on of the armed forces. In the 91st Congress (1969–1971), 78% of its members had served in the military; today that number has dropped to 22%. And unlike the Vietnam War, which produced fierce opposition in Congress, today’s wars are more difficult to criticize on the floors of the Senate or House: members have learned to fear the “political fallout from charges of ‘not supporting the troops.’ ” In an attempt to reeducate and reengage the public, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and Stanford professor Kennedy (Freedom from Fear) convenes 13 scholars from around the country to weigh in on timely topics like women in the military, the shift from a reliance on the “citizen-soldier” to the “warrior-professional,” military justice, weapons technology, and the business and ethics of military contractors. Academic yet accessible, this volume offers thoughtful and occasionally disturbing insights into the workings of the world’s most powerful war machine. (June)