The Evolution of U.S. Military Policy from the Constitution to the Present, Volume IV: The Total Force Policy Era, 1970–2015

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Tracing the evolution of the U.S. Army throughout American history, the authors of this four-volume series show that there is no such thing as a “traditional” U.S. military policy. Rather, the laws that authorize, empower, and govern the U.S. armed forces emerged from long-standing debates and a series of legislative compromises between 1903 and 1940.

Volume IV covers the period from 1970 to 2015, from changes to U.S. military policy that resulted from the Vietnam War through years of persistent conflict following the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks. In spite of significant changes in the strategic context during this period, the fundamental laws underpinning U.S. military policy remained largely unchanged. Volume IV also discusses how the demands of persistent conflict since the 9/11 terrorist attacks have led to increased use of individuals and units from the reserve components.

This research was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

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