Non-traditional missions and the U.S. Military: past, present, and prospects
Brown, Jeff R.
Eitelberg, Mark J.
Suchan, James E.
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Non-traditional military missions have become a topical issue in tne United States since the end of the Cold War and are an important concern for the All-Volunteer Force. Many feel that military involvement in activities such as disaster relief, civil-military programs, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping is revolutionary, inappropriate, and contrary to the central purpose of the armed forces. However, American military forces have participated in non-traditional missions throughout the country's history. These missions have been a vital part of military service as the focus of the military changed along with the nation. This thesis defines non-traditional missions and reviews U.S. military participation over three periods: 1776 to 1973, when America's involvement in the Vietnam war ended and the All-Volunteer Force was initiated; 1973 until the end of the Cold War in 1989; and 1989 to the present. This sets the stage for a detailed evaluation of the reasons for and against continued involvement in non-traditional missions. Recommendations balancing the military's legacy of non-traditional missions with current needs and constraints are offered to suggest a course for the future.
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