Category: Health Magazine, Winter 2023

Title:Alumnus, professor collaborate on book honoring the All-Volunteer Force

Author: By Gabrielle Barone
Date Published: December 1, 2022
A man in a suit and tie smiles at the camera
Photo: Courtesy of Joel Kupersmith


A Georgetown School of Medicine professor and a Walsh School of Foreign Service alumnus have collaborated to publish a book commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary of the United States’ implementation of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF), which was developed to provide willing soldiers in a non-draft capacity, with a particular emphasis on supporting veterans.

A silhouette of a soldier salutes in front of the American flag with the words "Supporting Veterans After 50 Years of the All-Volunteer Force and 20 Years of War: Ideas Moving Forward
Photo: Courtesy of Joel Kupersmith

Supporting Veterans After 50 Years of the All-Volunteer Force and 20 Years of War: Ideas Moving Forward, by Joel Kupersmith, M.D., a professor at the Georgetown School  of Medicine, and George W. Casey Jr. (SFS’70), a retired four-star general and former Army Chief of Staff, lays out the issues facing veterans and suggests how to improve their post-service “return on investment” and civilian acculturation experience.

Kupersmith notes that while most of the discussion around the All-Volunteer Force usually focuses on readiness and military aspects, “we wanted to focus on how the veterans of the All-Volunteer Force are different from their predecessors.” These cultural shifts include demographics, geography, and more—research that began with hosting six high-level workshops to get perspectives from varied points of view.

“We wanted to focus on the veterans, because veterans of the All-Volunteer Force are different from their predecessors.”

— Joel Kupersmith, M.D.

“We wanted to get a conversation going at the national level,” Casey adds, “because you don’t do anything for 50 years without figuring out how to do it smarter, better, faster.” The book delves into how public perceptions toward veterans have changed, as well as the shifts in modern veterans’ demographics.

“One of the things that we found was that there’s a paradox when it comes to veterans,” Casey says. “When they’re on active duty, people look at them as respected, professional members of society who are brave and go out and do hard things for the country. As soon as they retire or leave the military, then people have questions about how successful they could be moving into the civilian and private sector.”

Rather than seeing previous military experience as a hindrance in the civilian job hunt, Casey sees the experience as an asset which improves resilience, self-confidence, and decision-making.

“One of the main points of the book is that we, as a country and society, aren’t taking advantage of this wealth of capacity that’s coming out of the AVF.”

Veterans who have previously served, he says, are already purpose-driven to “have a commitment to something larger than themselves, and they want to continue to give back.”

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