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Abstract

Much has been written concerning the extent to which contemporary industrialized societies meet the accepted criteria of a "welfare state". By contrast, the literature on the welfare aspects of the military as an institution within societies is comparatively sparse. Yet internally, military establishments often exhibit many welfare state attributes. Within the military's organizational territory and authority, members are provided with a wide spectrum of comprehensive universal entitlements--social, economic, occupational, educational, and medical. The formal parameters of the U.S. military establishment's welfare entitlements give the undeniable appearance of a bonafide welfare state whose provision is significantly more benevolent and equitable than that provided to the nonmilitary. As with all welfare systems, however, the unique welfare state within the military has developed more in response to its own perceived organizational needs and requirements than to a rational assessment of the "real" needs of those it serves-- military personnel and their families.

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