America’s Growing Disconnect from the Use of Military Force

  • Lieutenant Colonel Steven W. Moritz

As the U.S. concludes the longest war in its history, it should assess the connection between its society and the use of military force. There are two factors which have helped distance the U.S. civilian population from the decision to use military force. First, technology has provided policy makers with the ability to provide military effects globally with little human cost to the U.S. Second, a civilian-military gap has widened since the creation of the all-volunteer force. These two factors have combined to allow U.S. leaders unprecedented freedom to take military action abroad due to reduced internal political pressure. This situation creates three main risks to the U.S.: using a simple, technological military solution to problems which may not fully address the issue, the potential to use the military as the preferred option, and a shift away from a values-based approach when pursuing U.S. national interests. Three recommendations are made to address these issues: improve transparency in use of unmanned aerial vehicles, focus on synchronized strategic communication, and increase the size of the Guard and Reserve relative to the active duty force.