Debate on whether military draft is necessary has been on-going for years with proponents and opponents belonging in all walks of life expressing their points of view. Contentions about serving one’s country voluntarily or mandatorily have been brought up and discussed in different platforms. Some supporters are saying military draft should return because what of what it can contribute to the nation and the citizenry.
What Is a Military Draft?
Also known as conscription, it is a system that requires individuals between 18-25 years old to enlist and serve in the military if they are eligible to join the service after assessment. Drafted men and women will undergo months of training and be sent to wars or assigned to designations in the military.
While there are some who are supporters, there are non-conformists as well. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory enlistment in the military people are talking about.
List of Pros of Military Draft
1. It assures national security.
With strengthening the number of service men and women to defend the country when national security is put on the line, the country will be safer. There will be enough soldiers to fight in times of war, be it a civil war or one where many countries are involved. Since having casualties is inevitable, it is best to have other soldiers to replace those who will be injured or killed in the battle and a military draft can make this possible.
2. It is contributory to building character.
Military draft is for people 18 years old and above and most of the draftees belong to the youth. This experience will teach them to be respectful of authority, enhance their leadership skills and have self-discipline. These are character traits they can use even after military service and throughout their lives. Moreover, young people will learn how to take on great responsibilities not only to the community but to the nation and the world.
3. It can reduce unemployment in the long run.
As drafted soldiers, men and women will be taught skills and given training in engineering, IT and the like since they will be assigned to different departments and given duties from cooking to driving. After they are done serving the military, they can use these newly learned skills and expertise when they go back to the real world and seek employment.
4. It is a great way to travel and learn new cultures.
One of the benefits of being drafted in the military is the opportunity given to people to travel the world and learn about other countries and cultures. Soldiers are sent to war-stricken countries as well nations in need of relief and help. The experiences they gain from meeting other nationalities and at the same time helping other people enrich them as human beings. They gain knowledge and learn about compassion.
5. It creates equality and diversity.
In conscription, there is no rich or poor, no social status to take into consideration since everyone who is eligible will be included in the list. People, especially the youth will learn how to mingle with other people from all walks of life, with no special treatment whatsoever. They will learn about equality. Sons and daughters of leaders and children of ordinary citizens will be treated fairly and at the same level.
6. With children of politicians included in a military draft, there will be no abrupt decisions in getting into war.
Some powerful countries with sufficient weaponry and resources often are too eager to strike and threaten smaller countries. However, if their sons and daughters are in military service, they will think twice before instigating war with other nations. This will avoid unnecessary wars and save more lives. Instead, leaders will be more diplomatic in their decisions.
7. It cuts down expenses of the government to have enlisted soldiers than an all-volunteer force.
With people mandated to military service, there is no need to spend for convincing them to join by way of giving free tuition for college, salaries and sign-up bonuses. These are some of the expenses the government will incur with recruiting men and women to volunteer as soldiers.
List of Cons of Military Draft
1. It takes away precious time from the youth.
One of the disadvantages of military draft which critics are pointing out is the time that will be lost by the young men and women forced to join the military. They say that the years spent in the military will affect their transition from high school to college.
2. Not all drafted soldiers are as competent as professional soldiers.
Opponents say that professional soldiers spend years of training especially for combat. They have enough time to train physically and emotionally unlike drafted soldiers who only get months of training with inefficient training courses.
3. Compulsory service in the military creates more expenses for the government.
Another disadvantage of conscription, according to groups that are against military draft, is the cost of having to train a large number of people especially if the country is not in imminent threat. Aside from the direct expenses, there are other expenditures conscription entails, not to mention the work force that is lost during the service.
4. It is one of the ways to strengthen militarism which should be avoided.
Those who are opposed to military draft has expressed concerns that forcing people to join the military, regardless of the social status, is imposing militarism on the society. Case in point, if professionals like engineers, lawyers and doctors are drafted, even the lowest ranking soldier will be superior to them. This is what opponents are not agreeable with. Moreover, even if a lawyer or a professional is called to serve for a few months, his or her educational background might not be of much help given the short time of service.
5. Not all drafted soldiers are members of the youth but older individuals with family.
For some critics, the number of young people does not constitute all soldiers in the military draft. There are husbands and wives with children and families left behind. In the end, it is the family that suffers.
Political leaders aim to protect their countries and defend their territories from enemies. However, is military draft the only solution? Should citizens be forced to risk their lives to fight for their country? Leaders should take into consideration the benefits and drawbacks of military draft and see if the good effects outweigh the bad.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.