Understanding U.S. Military Personnel

The men and women who serve in uniform are at the core of U.S. military capability. This project looks at questions related to who is serving today, who will serve in the future, and how the nation can best attract them to join up, stay as long as needed, and leave when their services are no longer desired. The project includes work on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of military recruits and service members; the changing characteristics of people the services need; and military pay and benefits.

Related Publications:

Cindy Williams (editor), Filling the Ranks: Transforming the U.S. Military Personnel System (MIT Press 2004). Chinese translation published by Military History and Translation Office, Ministry of National Defense, Republic of China, 2009.

“Who Will Serve: Personnel Needs for Future U.S. Forces,” paper presented at international conference, Who will fight? Issues, challenges, and solutions for military recruitment in contemporary all-volunteer armed forces, organized by the Centre for International Studies and Research (CERI) of Sciences PO and sponsored by the French Ministry of Defense, Paris, France, June 25, 2010.

Cindy Williams and Barry Horowitz, “Veterans’ Education for Engineering and Science,” Report of the National Science Foundation Workshop on Enhancing the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Benefit (McLean, VA: NSF, April 2009).

Cindy Williams, “Commentary” in Part IV, “Benefit Structure for the Future” in John D. Winkler and Barbara A. Bicksler (eds), The New Guard and Reserve (San Ramon, CA: Falcon Books, 2008), pp. 247-251.

Cindy Williams, “The Other Resources: The People Factor in Future Defense Strategy,” in Defense Strategy and Forces: Setting Future Directions, William B. Ruger Chair of National Security Economics Paper Number 3 (Newport, RI: Naval War College 2008), pp. 55-63.

John Moxley and Cindy Williams (co-chairs), Personnel and Manpower for a Transformed Naval Force (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2008). 

Cindy Williams, “Paying Tomorrow’s Military,” Regulation, Summer 2006, pp. 26-31.

Cindy Williams, “Transforming the Rewards for Military Service,” MIT Security Studies Program Occasional Paper, September 2005.

Cindy Williams, “Filling the Army’s Ranks for the Iraq War,” MIT Center for International Studies Audit of the Conventional Wisdom, July 2005.

Cindy Williams, “Improving the Military Personnel System,” in Thomas H. Stanton,  Meeting the Challenge of 9/11: Blueprints for More Effective Government (M E Sharpe 2006), pp. 274-292.

The Project on U.S. Military Personnel is managed by Cindy Williams, a Principal Research Scientist in the MIT Security Studies Program.