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Institutional change in armed forces at the dawning of the 21 century

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Background.
  3. World War II and the postwar period.
  4. The Korean and Vietnam Wars.
    1. Sociological research during the Korean War.
    2. Administrative and leadership roles.
    3. The conscription based mass armed forces of the first three decades of the Cold War.
  5. The emergence of an industrial military after the Vietnam War.
    1. The social turbulence in Western industrial nations in the 1960s.
    2. The evaluation of performance of personnel in the institutional military.
    3. A 1985 conference on the institutional and occupational military models.
    4. The continuations of conscription and tendencies to avoid specialization.
  6. The Post-Cold War army.
    1. The dramatic decline of the mass armed force.
    2. The participation of women in the military forces of Western European nations.
    3. The families of professional soldiers.
    4. The developmental construct of the post-Cold War military.
  7. Latin American military morces.
    1. The form and structure of military organization in Latin America.
    2. The lack strong penetrating political parties capable of checking the power or strength of the military.
  8. Conclusion.

Although the military as a social institution and war as a social process figured prominently in classical sociological theory, military sociology did not emerge as a field of empirical study until World War II. Then, for four decades, the field was dominated by scholars in the United States, whose research agenda reflected the concerns of the Cold War period. As we enter the twenty-first century, military sociology is being globalized. At the same time, the military institution is being transformed, as the end of the Cold War in Europe and the worldwide democratic revolution require nations to reconsider the structure, roles and missions of their armed forces. In this chapter we use movement toward a post-Cold War military as a developmental construct to describe the changes that have taken place in military organization and in civil-military relations. The military, in one form or another, played a major role in most societies. Furthermore, most industrial societies were also military powers. In many modern industrialized nations, such as Switzerland, Israel, and the Soviet Union, the military played a major integrative role in society. In developing nations, such as those of Latin America, the military has been the central actor in both domestic social control and modernization, with the social control function shifting from counter-insurgency to drug interdiction.

[...] In spite of its central political role, the armed forces in Latin America have not succeeded in ?militarizing? or ?mobilizing? society. Since 1978, the military has withdrawn from the government of nine Latin American countries. Generally, the armed forces represent a small percentage of the population, especially in relation to the political power they have held. Latin America spends a smaller fraction of national wealth on the military than any other region of the world and has a smaller proportion of men in the armed forces with the exception of sub- Saharan Africa. [...]


[...] The collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact, and the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s decreased the willingness of Western nations to maintain large standing military forces, and turned the attention of military analysts to the nature of the force that was likely to evolve after the Cold War in Europe ended. The post-Cold War period is characterized by the dramatic decline of the mass armed force. The comparative analysis of 15 Western European nations that recognized universal military conscription as recently as 1991 revealed the following patterns: 1. [...]


[...] The conscription based mass armed forces of the first three decades of the Cold War were being replaced by the more voluntary and professionalized late Cold War armed forces. The modern mass armed force, characterized by professional military cadres augmented by conscription, reserves, and cycles of societal mobilization and demobilization, had been a product of the American and French revolutions. These cycles, reflecting national security needs in times of war and both resistance to large military expenditures and distrust of large standing forces in times of peace, will continue to shape the military of the future. [...]

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