How Afghanistan Influenced the Content of Armed Forces & Society: An Editor’s Reflection on Trends in the Literature




Shields, Patricia M.

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This paper is a presentation for the Military-Civilian Transition Research Forum from the Military-Civilian Transition Office of the Defense Support Services Center, The United States Department of Defense. Using the lenses of the postmodern or post-Cold War military, this presentation reflects on how the articles in the Armed Forces & Society journal were influenced by the Afghanistan War. The postmodern military relies more heavily on volunteers, is more likely to engage in unconventional missions, and more likely to use multinational forces. The multiple deployments and brutal nature of the war led to a large increase in health/mental health articles and contributed to changes in the scope of the military family and Veterans’ literature. The depth and complexity of the reserve and contractor literature changed significantly. The presentation concludes with additional, non-Afghanistan related trends in the literature. There is a growing literature resting on the intersection of military and police functions. They range from the convergence of military and police functions to the crime of veterans and active duty, incarcerated veterans and Veterans employed by police and prisons. The military’s involvement in natural disasters including COVID and climate related disasters has a growing international literature. The greater level of threat has led to conscription many to Europe counties, which in turn resulted in a new literature on models of recruitment.



postmodern military, armed forces, Afghanistan War, miliary, veterans


Shields, P. M. (2023). How Afghanistan Influenced the Content of Armed Forces & Society: An Editor’s Reflection on Trends in the Literature. Military-Civilian Transition Research Forum, The United States Department of Defense.


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