1. Journal of American History
  2. /
  3. Teaching the JAH
  4. /
  5. The Army in the Marketplace: Recruiting an All-Volunteer Force

The Army in the Marketplace: Recruiting an All-Volunteer Force


Introduction

This Teaching the JAH segment was created by Beth Bailey.

In 1973 the United States abandoned the draft in favor of an all-volunteer military, despite the warnings of the House Armed Services Committee that such a force could be achieved only through a draft. The primary mover behind the shift to a volunteer force was neither public discontent nor youthful protesters, but a group of free-market economists surrounding Richard M. Nixon. Beth Bailey analyzes the move from a troubled military system based on the obligations of (male) citizenship to one that relied on market logic and on sophisticated marketing campaigns that pinpointed the supposed psychological needs of America’s youth and promoted military service as a way to fulfill them.