The Fifth Annual All-Volunteer Force Conference

March 31, 2021 The Catholic University of America       
If planning to attend in-person: RSVP to Luke Cocchi at

Livestream at: 

✪ 0900 – 0945: Opening Discussion: “Is America’s All-Volunteer Force Sustainable?” Speaker: Elliot Ackerman Moderator: Max Margulies (Modern War Institute, United States Military Academy)

✪ 0945 – 1115: Panel 1: The State of the All-Volunteer Force Panelists: Major General Dennis Laich (United States Army, Ret.), Phil Carter (Georgetown University), Jim Golby (Clements Center, the University of Texas), Bill Taylor (Angelo State University) Moderator: Lindsay Cohn (U.S. Naval War College)

✪ 1120 – 1250: Panel 2: The All-Volunteer Force and Future Threats Panelists: Vice Admiral Lee Gunn (United States Navy, Ret.), Jacquelyn Schneider (Hoover Institution, Stanford University), Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (United States Army, Ret.), Colonel Håkan Andersson (Embassy of Sweden) Moderator: Gil Barndollar (Center for the Study of Statesmanship, the Catholic University of America)

✪ 1255 – 1345: Debate: Resolved: “America’s All-Volunteer Force Is A Failing Experiment” Debaters: Major General Dennis Laich, Jill Rough (George Mason University) Moderator: Colonel Margaret Cope (United States Air Force, Ret.)

✪ 1345 – 1400: Closing Remarks: Major General Dennis Laich, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson


"Enough with America's 'thank you for your service' culture. It's betrayal, not patriotism."​​

by Dennis Laich and Erik Edstrom in USA Today, February 5, 2021 ​

A nation of draft dodgers            Dodging and deferring:

By Dennis Laich                                    Trump wasn’t the only POTUS to avoid the draft
Military Times                                                               By Lawrence Korb     

February 1, 2021                                                          Military Times
                                                                                     January 21, 2021

Forum members and guests,
After having to postpone our 
Fifth Annual All-Volunteer Force Conference originally scheduled for April 1, 2020, we will now hold the conference virtually. Still hosted by the Catholic University of America, please join us on March 31, 2021. Our topic this year is: "Endless Wars and America's All Volunteer Force." We have scaled back the agenda to a half day to now include a keynote address, two panels, and a debate. Registration information will soon follow.

We hope to see you then!
Respectfully yours,
MG Laich 

Posted 26 December 2020

Please see how Time Magazine speaks to our issue about bringing back the draft. The article entitled "8 Radical Ideas for a More Equal America" was written by Abigail Abrams and appears in the 20 February issue. Click HERE.

Posted 23 November 2019

Please read these articles featuring remarks by Lawrence Wilkerson and Dennis Laich that appeared in Military Times and The American Conservative the week of 20 November 2019:

"Rising costs, dwindling recruit numbers, increasing demands may bring back the military draft"

By: Todd South, Military Times


A Military Draft to Confront Climate Change?

By: Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, The American Conservative

Posted 14 October 2019

Please read this article from Time entitled"Why Bringing Back the Draft Could Stop America’s Forever Wars." It strongly echoes some of our most fundamental views. HERE

Posted 11 August 2019

Please read General Laich's latest op ed entitled: Manning the Military: America’s Problem in this week's Military Times (all services). We believe it supports our objective of facilitating a fact based dialogue. General Laich argues that conscription, using a lottery based system, would be a fair, efficient, sustainable, legal, and proven alternative to the AVF.

Posted 21 February 2019

The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service conducted a hearing today focused on "Universal Service".  Larry Wilkerson and General Laich co-authored a response to the Staff Memorandum: Universal Service which was published prior to the hearing.  At their request,the response was entered into the record of the day's hearing. To read the response, click HERE.

Please view MG Laich's interview on NewsMax

"Should Women be Required to Register for Selective Service?" 

6 February 2019

(7 minute clip)

Please read MG Laich's opinion piece in The Hill  Click HERE

Women should register with Selective Service, for equality and national security

By Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich, opinion contributor — 02/04/19 09:00 AM EST

From General Laich (23 November 2018)

Please note the attached article by Ben Shapiro titled "Here's the Biggest Problem in American Government.  No One's Going to Deal With It".  He is referring to debt and interest on the debt.  This paragraph informs the sustainability of the AVF: "The Congressional Budget Office estimates interest spending will rise to $915 billion by 2028, or 13% of all outlays and 3.1% of GDP.  Along that path, the government is expected to pass the following milestones.  It will spend more on interest than it spends on Medicaid in 2020; more in 2023 than it spends on national defense; and more in 2025 than it spends on all discretionary programs combined, from funding on national parks, to scientific research, to health care and education, to court systems and infrastructure, according to the CBO."  I made reference to this developing issue at our conference at Ohio State earlier this year.

A report mandated by Congress titled "The Assessments and Recommendations of the national Defense Strategy Commission" was issued on 13 November 2018.  The lengthy report includes the following paragraph: "The foremost resource required to produce a highly capable military is highly capable people---but the number of Americans with both the fitness and propensity to serve is in secular decline, putting the NDS at long term risk.  DoD and Congress must take creative steps to address the shortage of qualified and willing individuals, rather than relying solely on ever-higher compensation for a shrinking pool of qualified volunteers".  It does not suggest what those "creative steps" might be.  Johnathan Askonas (a fellow Forum member) and I along with Gil Barndollar have submitted an op/ed to the WSJ suggesting a few "creative steps" and some commentary on the issue as presented in the Congressional Report. HERE.

Please check out this opinion piece in the New York Times by AVF Forum members Gordon Adams, Lawrence B. Wilkerson and Isaiah Wilson III.
Trump’s Border Stunt Is a Profound Betrayal of Our Military(19 November 2018)
Dr. Adams is professor emeritus at American University’s School of International Service. Mr. Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, is a professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary. Dr. Wilson, a retired Army colonel, is a senior lecturer with Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

 On Friday 12 October Larry Wilkerson and Denny Laich visited Angelo State University, the site of our 2019 All-Volunteer Force Conference.  They were hosted by Dr. William Taylor who has done a great job in preparing for the conference.  We were able to visit all the facilities that will be available to us and meet senior leaders of the university, all of whom were very supportive of the event.  All but one of the speaker/panelist positions are set and the president of Angelo State has extended an invitation to keynote to Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison.  We expect the agenda to be finalized in the next few weeks.  The conference is set for Thursday 28 March 2019.

Army Times has published General Laich's article "Growing Recruiting Challenges Harm the Army"


New: General Laich is now a opinion contributor to The Hill

The Hill is a top US political website, read by the White House and more lawmakers than any other site -- vital for policy, politics and election campaigns.

Please see his opinion piece that appeared in The Hill on June 28th, entitled "War is a crisis if no one on our side shows up."


March 28, 2019: Our All Volunteer Force Forum event was hosted by San Angelo State and proved insightful and thought-provoking. Major Danny Sjursen followed-up on the event with a review editorial at entitled "Was Ending the Draft a Grave Mistake?"

March 29, 2018: Our annual AVF Forum symposium was held at The Ohio State University. It was sponsored by Dr. Trevor Brown (Dean of the John Glenn School of Public Policy) and Dr. Richard Herrmann (Chair of the Political Science Department). Entitled "The Future of the All Volunteer Force and Democracy in America", the symposium largely focused on student involvement.  The intent this year was to engage a younger cohort of participants (the real stakeholders of today's AVF) than the previous events. In April 2016, the Center for the Study of the U.S. Military at the University of Kansas, in collaboration with the AVF Forum, hosted the first symposium on the AVF, where military experts, scholars and former defense department personnel debated and discussed whether the AVF is fair, efficient, and sustainable. A second forum was held at the College of William & Mary in April 2017. Recordings of those presentations are linked below. The program for the event is HERE.

April 27, 2017:  The second All-Volunteer Force Symposium was held at the College of William & Mary.  The agenda included four presentations in the morning:  two in support of the AVF and two that questioned its viability.  The afternoon included a moderated open discussion and Q&A of the morning's presenters.  The public was invited and admission was free.  Additional information regarding the event is posted on the College of William & Mary website
HERERecordings of the event:

                                                      Morning Speaker Series
                                                      Afternoon Panel Discussion
                                                      Keynote Speaker Address 

April 2, 2016:  The All-Volunteer Force Forum (AVFF) co-sponsored,  with the Center for Military, War, and Society Studies a day-long symposium at Kansas University.  Participants at the event expressed a broad range of views on manning our military in a fact based, respectful manner.  The event included a series of panels throughout the day and a summary panel in the evening.  The summary panel was moderated by Prof. Beth Bailey and included a number of forum members and guests.  Program for the event isHERE. Video recordings of all the panels are available at the homepage of the Center for Military, War, and Society Studies at Kansas University or below:

                                                      Session 1: Is the AVF fair?

                                                      Session 2: Is the AVF efficient and sustainable?

                                                      Session 3: Militarism and National Security

                                                      Session 4: Alternatives To A Volunteer Force

                                                      Public Conversation on the All-Volunteer Force

September 27, 2016:  The All-Volunteer Force Forum participated in a dialogue on the AVF sponsored by the John Glenn School of Public Policy at the Ohio State University.  The dialogue was moderated by Dr. Trevor Brown, Dean of the Glenn School, and included MG Dennis Laich and Professor Emeritus John Muller.

The Million Dollar Muzzle by MG (ret.) Dennis Laich and LTC (ret.) Mike Young

     Response to The Million Dollar Muzzle by Greg Jacob

The Millennial and Post-Millennial Generations and the Sustainability of the AVF by LTC (ret.) Mike Young

There's a Reason America's Vets Can't Find Work But Not What Ben Bernanke Thinks by Tim Kane

Population Representation in the Military Services:  Fiscal Year 2014 Summary Reportprovided by Tim Kane
Invisible Inequality: The Two Americas of Military Sacrifice by Douglas L. Kriner and Francis X. Shen provided by Dennis Laich

America's All Volunteer Force: A Success? by Louis G. Yuengert in Parameters provided by Dennis Laich

The Military Times focused on our AVF Forum as the primary cover story for the 31 July 2017 issues (all services). The article is found HERE.

Announcements  & Forum Activities