This is an insider’s view of the all-volunteer army. Army Capt. Crispin Burke, currently serves as an Observer/Controller at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany. Capt. Burke is qualified in the UH-60 and LUH-72 helicopters, and has served with the 82nd Airborne Division in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, with Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras, and with the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq.
What is exceptional about this the charts and graphs to illustrate his point. When doing a story, don’t forget that graphics can complement a story very well, especially online and on video.
FOR NEARLY A DECADE, the US Army has undergone the unprecedented task of fighting two major, manpower-intensive wars without relying on conscription. Less than one percent of the US population currently serves in the military—the lowest percentage during any major American conflict.
To its credit, the US military has performed admirably. However, as the wars drag on and service members are called upon for multiple deployments, the signs of stress are evident. Rates of divorce, drug abuse, criminal activity and suicides have skyrocketed in recent years. Moreover, to field a force large enough to fight two manpower-intensive wars, the Army has given out over a billion dollars in cash bonuses, hired more contractors than troops, and instituted a number of controversial personnel policies.
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted, in a recent speech at Duke University, that too much has been asked of too few for too long. Secretary Gates acknowledged that a decade of war has exacerbated a growing civil-military divide, as the small all-volunteer force grows increasingly isolated from American society, sequestered on massive bases in America’s southeast and southwest.