The Future of America’s Profession of Arms

The geopolitical revolution begun in 1989 has caused much consternation for the practitioners and analysts of international affairs, but the U.S. military has arguably had the most difficult time reacting to and accepting the unfolding international security environment. Although some saw the demise of the Soviet Union as ushering in a new era of peace that afforded a drawdown in military capabilities, a paradox developed: despite a reduction of more than 30 percent in the size of the force over the last decade, the military’s rate of deployment (its operational tempo) has increased by over 300 percent. More significantly, however, the Cold War–era task of preparing for and deterring major wars has been supplanted by missions of peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and humanitarian intervention. The requirement to do more with less and the friction over the proper use of military power have created turbulence both between the American profession of arms and its civilian leadership and within the profession itself. The works under review here explore the implications of this turbulence and suggest ways in which it might be resolved….

Army Professionalism, the Military Ethic, and Officership in the Twenty-First Century. By Dr. Don M. Snider, Major John A. Nagl, and Major Tony Pfaff. (Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, December 1999).

Generations Apart: Xers and Boomers in the Officer Corps. By Leonard Wong. (Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, October 2000).

Making Citizen-Soldiers: ROTC and the Ideology of American Military Service. By Michael S. Neiberg. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000).

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