Is an all volunteer army enough?

Question: How does an all-volunteer military affect America’s ability to protect its interests?

Armitage:    Well having been part of a military during the time of a draft, and then having been part of the Defense establishment when the All Volunteer Force was coming in, there is no question in my mind that the AVF is head and shoulders above a draft.  These young men and women are fantastic.  I don’t know if I’d have been worthy of them as a young officer.  They’re that good.  But we’re on the second . . . just starting the second generation of the All Volunteer Force.  This is going to be a very interesting experience, and I don’t know how it’s going to . . . going to come out.  Clearly having an all volunteer force is one of the things that has kept public scrutiny of the war down somewhat.  I do think, having said that, that there is a place in our society for sort of mandatory service, not necessarily military service.  Because I think it’s a good thing to give the country, and I think it’s a good leveler.  People of all religions, races and creeds can come together, and sacrifice together, and give back to this country for a year or two.  I think that would be a great thing, but I don’t foresee a return to the draft as being desirable or possible unless we were faced with a major catastrophe.

Question: How do you explain the subcontracting of the American military?

Armitage:    Well I think it’s an obvious fallout of having gone down to a much smaller military.  Many of the logistics functions and some of the more mundane security functions fall to outside contractors.  I don’t think we’ve had a real . . .  We haven’t fully thought through the implications of this – either having logistics done by civilians, or having our contractors carry weapons in a war zone.  There are the beginnings of some oversight on this and looking into it.  I myself . . .  When I was at the State Department, we hired certain contractors.  They did a bang-up job of protecting our embassies and some other places, and it allows our servicemen to be freed up for other activities.  So it’s a mixed bag, and I don’t think we’ve really gotten to the bottom of how good it is, or how much is good.

Does it affect ability address threats and protect our interests?

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less