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Looking to the Future: What Does Transformation Mean for Military Manpower and Personnel Policy

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Each decade of the All-Volunteer Force AVF has brought new challenges in meeting military manpower supply requirements challenges that have been successfully met by the Department of Defense DoD and Congress. During the 1970s, the initial challenge was to transition from a conscripted to a volunteer force meeting that challenge involved an unprecedented increase in military pay. The 1980s involved sustaining the volunteer force with another large increase in military pay, made necessary because military pay had been allowed to fall during the late 1970s, and expanding recruiting and retention resources such as bonuses and educational benefits. This period was also notable in that management of the recruiting effort became more sophisticated in describing local markets, motivating recruiters, and developing effective advertising programs, thereby promoting high-quality personnel at acceptable costs. The third decade, the 1990s, saw the end of the Cold War, the rise in op operations other than war, and an unusually robust civilian economy that again challenged DoDs ability to recruit and retain high-quality personnel. This challenge was successfully met with another substantial increase in military pay that helped restore it to pre-boom levels relative to civilian pay, a restructuring of pay that gave larger increases to personnel who reached promotion faster, and increased recruiting and retention resources. The AVF is now at the beginning of its fourth decade. Although the future is unknown, DoD is transforming itself to ensure that it is prepared to meet possible future threats. Such transformation requires a reassessment of both the militarys current manpower and personnel policies and the factors that will affect the continued success of the AVF over the next decade and beyond.

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  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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