The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

The True Volunteers

To call an army of paid professionals a volunteer army is a misnomer. Paid professionals don’t volunteer for service, they are paid compensation for services. They are essentially mercenaries who are hired by the state. The only difference between a paid professional army that works for the state and mercenaries is that the mercenaries work for a sub-contractor of the state. The details such as citizenship, military law, and other differences are not differences in kind, but rather just differences in the nature and strictness of the contract that governors the relationship between the paid professional and his employer.

True volunteer armies are those that are manned by the democratically authorized conscription of citizens. A truly volunteer army was the French Army of the Napoleonic period or the American Army of World War I and II. The citizens voluntarily consent to military service through the actions of their elected representatives. That service is truly voluntary in that there is no contract between the state and the individual, and there is no just compensation provided back to the individual soldier.

Do you agree with the above analysis of volunteer army versus professional army? Why / why not?

Regardless of the validity of the above argument, conscript armies have many benefits to the state. What are they? What war making advantages do they have? What are their disadvantages?

The Chinese military is currently a largely conscripted force. Is it a better alternative to the professional army?

What are the concerns regarding a professional army that is not directly connected to the majority of the citizens of the state?

Finally, when helping to create national armies in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, is the US model professional army the right model for those societies?  What cultural and political factors should be considered when choosing the appropriate army model?


September 11, 2013 Posted by | H100, Uncategorized | 24 Comments



Just a short a note to welcome the new CGSC class, Staff Section 17, to the blog.  As I have put out in class, the purpose of this blog is to continue the discussion of the class room topics in another venue. 

I will be posting a class specific blog entry for each class .  Anyone in the class, actually anyone –other CGSC students as well anyone from the public, military or civilian,  not affiliated with CGSC –can comment on what I post. 

I do not plan to edit in any way the comments on the posts.  However, in the extremely rare case where someone might spam or flame the comments sections, or post anything I deem inappropriate,  I will edit those out.

If you have something to say relevant to the class/topic that you want to express that does not go directly to the lead in blog, feel free to add that in the comments section as well.  In other words, the topics are not limited to the subjects I suggest, but are limited only limited by what is relevant to our history class and your CGSC experience.

If you are interested in “guest blogging,”  that is begining a conversation in this space on a topic related to class that you are interested in, see me for how to do that. 

Note that occassionally there will be posts to this blog which are not directly related to the History curriculm, but do relate to either the purpose of the history instruction, to use history to promote critical thinking; or to the overall purpose of critical thinking; or promote to development of your military professionalism.  Those posts are open for comment and will be considered just as all the other posts are.

A recommendation:  be aware of your writing style and grammar in your comments.  Like any public writing, including email, people will judge you by how you write as well as what you write.  I won’t be concerned about your grammer and style –but it is just natural that others will.  Do what I do –write your blog comments in word –spell check and proof read them –and then post them.  Its not a big deal, but it is an opportunity to practice good communications habits.

That said, ignore all of my style and grammar errors and focus on my content 😉

First blog(s) for AY 14 are published below.

Again, welcome to the blog for AY 14 and have fun!

September 11, 2013 Posted by | Admin, military history | 3 Comments