All-Volunteer Force

Concurrent with the ending of conscription in 1973 by the United States was the development of the all-volunteer force (AVF), which depends on individual voluntary enlistment to fill the ranks of the military. While the United States relied wholly or partially on conscription to fill the military during the World Wars and from 1948 until 1972, the United States traditionally relied on voluntary enlistment. Opposition to the war in Vietnam and to the inequities in the conscription system ended the national consensus on conscription and brought a return to a completely volunteer military. This entry discusses the evolution of the U.S. AVF from 1969 to the present.


In March 1969, President Richard M. Nixon created the Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force, with the former secretary ...

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