The remarkable success of the all-volunteer force (AVF) in the past 30 years belies the controversial decision to implement such a force, which was the result of effective economic arguments and propitious political factors. In spite of significant work by the Gates Commission, the success of the AVF was not preordained, but was significantly influenced by ways in which the army adapted since 1973 to make the most effective use of volunteer soldiers. This adaptation included careful evaluation of standards, pay, education, training, non-monetary compensation, quality of life, and promotion of diversity. Each of these factors had to be carefully managed to enhance the effectiveness of the military labor force. Military personnel policies have a long-term impact not only on the military but also on society as a whole. Copyright 2002 Western Economic Association International.
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