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Demystifying the citizen soldier

Demystifying the citizen soldier

Cohen, Raphael S., author

"The National Guard is often portrayed as the modern heir to the colonial militia and retaining at least three of the latter's defining attributes -- a key instrument of American national security, a check on federal power, and home of today's 'citizen soldiers.' This report explores how the term citizen soldier has been defined in academic literature -- as compulsory, universal, legitimate service by civilians -- and then looks at how the National Guard has evinced these attributes at various periods in its history. Since the United States' founding, the militia -- and later, the National Guard -- slowly evolved into an increasingly formidable warfighting force and increasingly important tool for national security. This evolution, however, has come at the expense of two other attributes of the colonial militia -- serving as a check on federal power and filling its ranks with citizen soldiers. The report concludes that there are inherent and increasing tensions among being a warfighting force, serving as a check on federal power, and embodying the ideals of a citizen soldier, and it is not clear that the Guard -- or any other force for that matter -- can fully reconcile them. Ultimately, the Guard's transformation from citizen soldiers to a professional force may very well be inevitable and is likely a positive development for American national security. It is, however, important to realize that this trend is occurring, to demystify the citizen soldier, and to see the force for what it is"--Publisher's web site

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. History. Electronic books.
Published Santa Monica, Calif. : RAND Corporation 2015

This resource is available electronically from the following locations


Statement of responsibility: Raphael S. Cohen
ISBN: 0833093592, 9780833093592
Note: Series from web site.
Note: "Project Air Force."
Note: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page (RAND, viewed December 11, 2015).
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 32-39).
Physical Description: 1 online resource (viii, 39 pages) : color illustrations
Series: Rand Corporation research report series ; RR-1141-AF
Subject: United States.; TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Military Science; United States National Guard.; Civil-military relations United States.; United States National Guard History.; Armed Forces Reserves.; Armed Forces.; United States Armed Forces Reserves.; Civil-military relations.
Series Title: Research report (Rand Corporation) ; RR-1141-AF.
Local note: JSTOR Books at JSTOR Open Access


  1. Introduction
  2. Defining and evaluating the mystique of the citizen soldier
  3. The militia era (1775-1830)
  4. The volunteers (1831-1902)
  5. The strategic reserve (1903-1990)
  6. The move to an operational reserve (1991-present)
  7. Demystifying the citizen soldier.