With more than four decades passing since the draft ended, only 1 percent of the population serves in the United States military. Since being in the armed forces isn’t mandatory, the country needs service members and their families to have a positive experience and also needs civilians to have a positive perception of military service, explains Debbie Bradbard, Ph.D., director of research and policy at Blue Star Families, a nonprofit organization that supports military families. And if they don’t? Well, as Bradbard says, “Who’s going to volunteer in the future? Will we have a sustainable all-volunteer force?”
This is why it’s essential that we eliminate the growing sense of separation between soldier and civilian. While doing so might seem difficult, experts and members of the military family community believe it’s possible to all move in the same direction. Here’s how.