The Rise of the Military Welfare State | Wilson Center
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The Rise of the Military Welfare State

After the end of the draft, the U.S. Army recruited volunteers who heeded the call to “Be All That You Can Be.” But beneath the recruitment slogans, the army promised soldiers something more tangible: a social safety net of unprecedented size and scope.  The military’s social welfare programs thrived for decades, even as the U.S. dismantled its civilian welfare system.  Yet the programs came under fire in the late 1990s, as opponents of military social welfare fought to outsource and privatize the system and to reinforce “self-reliance” among American soldiers. 

Jennifer Mittelstadt is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University. Her books include From Welfare to Workfare, Welfare in the United States (Co-authored with Premilla Nadasen and Marisa Chappell) and most recently The Rise of the Military Welfare State.  She has published widely in both scholarly journals and popular publications, including the Journal of Policy History, the Journal of Women’s History, Social Politics, the New York Times, Jacobin, and the Los Angeles Times.  She was a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 2008-2009.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

Speakers

  • Jennifer Mittelstadt

    Fellow
    Assistant Professor, History and Women's Studies, Pennsylvania State University