The armed forces of advanced Western democracies at the onset of the 21st century are entering a new organisational format we can term postmodern. The contemporary period is characterised by a decline of wars between states and the rise of a terrorism cutting across national borders as well as more wars within states. Western militaries are also much likely to engage in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations than in times past. The correlates of the postmodern military are manifold. The more obvious include the decline of conscription, a growing percentage of female solders, and an acceptance of open homosexuals. Especially noteworthy is the employment of civilian contractors to perform military roles formerly carried out by uniformed service members. A long-standing continuity in armed forces and society must also be noted. Societal acceptance of military casualties is directly related to its leadership being viewed as self-sacrificing. This is a timeless truth.
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