AUSA Torchbearer : All-Volunteer Force safeguards freedom
The Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) has recently released a new publication.
"Sustaining the All-Volunteer Force: A Readiness Multiplier" (Torchbearer Issue Paper, April 2016) discusses the indispensable role of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) in safeguarding the nation’s freedom, prosperity and way of life.
The success of the AVF rests, in large part, on readiness.
While that readiness requires investments in organizing, equipping and training, the primary investment is in the men and women of the force.
Budgetary pressures, however, have forced senior leaders to make difficult choices from among the different components of readiness.
This trend, if not reversed, will have the greatest impact on the people of the AVF.
Soldiers and their families face many challenges that are specific to military life, such as frequent relocations and, of course, the risks incurred in combat.
Readiness requires recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest – fit and resilient men and women of character – to volunteer and serve and providing them with a quality of life commensurate with their sacrifice.
This is all the more critical in an era when the demand for Army forces is high and requires commensurate levels of readiness and when there is an increasingly limited pool of eligible citizens from whom to recruit.
Budget reforms and adjustments threaten to undermine quality-of-life compensation – in soldier pay and retirement, in health care, in Basic Allowance for Housing, in military construction and in support for the commissaries – to such a degree that the viability of an AVF in the future is called into question.
The quality of life of soldiers and those who support them is inextricably linked to readiness; ultimately, these reforms, aimed at maintaining readiness in the short term, have the potential to mortgage the military’s future readiness.