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A volunteer military or all-volunteer military is one which derives its manpower from volunteers rather than conscription or mandatory service. A country may offer attractive pay and benefits through military recruitment to attract volunteers. Many countries with volunteer militaries reserve the right to renew conscription in the event of an emergency.
The Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in 2010 the army had a strength of 1,129,900 active personnel and 960,000 reserve personnel. Formerly the pre-independence British Indian Army was also an all-volunteer force consisting at its peak of some 2,500,000 personnel.
In recent decades, the trend among numerous countries has been to move from conscription to all-volunteer military forces. One significant example is in France, which has historically been the first to introduce modern conscription and whose model was followed by many other countries in Europe and elsewhere around the world.
- Military service
- Military volunteer
- United States Volunteers
- Volunteer Force (Great Britain)
For further reading
Greenberg, Greg A., Robert A. Rosenheck, and Rani A. Desai. “Risk of Incarceration among Male Veterans and Nonveterans: Are Veterans of the All Volunteer Force at Greater Risk.” Armed Forces & Society, Apr 2007; vol. 33: pp. 337–350. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/33/3/337
Gilroy, Curtis L., Robert L. Phillips, and John D. Blair. “The All-Volunteer Army: Fifteen Years Later.” Armed Forces & Society, Apr 1990; vol. 16: pp. 329–350. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/3/329
Snyder, William P. “Officer Recruitment for the All-Volunteer Force: Trends and Prospects.” Armed Forces & Society, Apr 1984; vol. 10: pp. 401–425. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/10/3/401
Bachman, Jerald G. and John D. Blair. “’Citizen Force’ or ‘Career Force’?: Implications for Ideology in the All-Volunteer Army.” Armed Forces & Society, Oct 1975; vol. 2: pp. 81-96. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/2/1/81
McNown, Robert F., Bernard Udis, and Colin Ash. “Economic Analysis of the All-Volunteer Force.” Armed Forces & Society, Oct 1980; vol. 7: pp. 113–132. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/7/1/113
Janowitz, Morris and Charles C. Moskos, Jr. “Five Years of the All-Volunteer Force: 1973-1978. Armed Forces & Society, Jan 1979; vol. 5: pp. 171–218. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/5/2/171