Ramification of Reinstated Military draft
America’s history is rich of instances when it has had to rely in on conscription during wars. This is an issue that has remained highly controversial. This practice was deemed unpopular and dropped 30 years ago but it had been cropping up during Bush’s regime. A look at the major past wars indicates that the American military mainly comprised of draftees but the inherent weaknesses led to the dropping of the practice. Military draft has a number of disadvantages; however the most outstanding ramification is the high likelihood of indiscipline and comprised effectiveness of the force compared to the an All Volunteer Force.
A look at the recent history of the United States indicates that the issue of whether or not to reinstate military draft has become a divisive one. Most of the analysts have looked at history for answers. One of the most studied presidents in regard to conscription is Ronald Reagan, faced with the prospects of ill-disciplined and highly ineffective force, he sought the answer in initiating an all volunteer service and that is what was created the highly disciplined and efficient force evidenced today.
It is important to look at some of the advantages laid down by those who advocate for the reinstatement of military drafts. One of the reasons put forward is that it is economically viable as it reduces the amount spent in recruitment expenses and huge salaries for the career soldiers. In case of emergencies, a huge capital outlay will be required to meet the arising demands. Reinstating military drafts eliminates such costs. It has been observed that an all volunteer force is expensive to maintain while a draft one costs much less. The reinstatement of military draft will make it compulsory for all able bodied men and women of the right age to be drafted into the military and hence the government will not be compelled to pay higher salaries to attract volunteers. Such costs can be channeled to other needs such as the improvement of infrastructure and upgrading weapons. Such conclusions have been reached out of comparing the current figures of maintaining as all volunteer force to those of the Vietnam era.
A draft military is also seen to be more representative compared to an All Volunteer Forces. War situations present higher chances of injury and demise. The nation hence has to continuously grapple with the decision of who is best suited to fight. Some people belief that a draft system is the best in such a situation as it is highly representative and will be drawn from across all economic and racial groups. The prevailing claim is that an AVF will mostly attract groups in the lower bracket of income while being shunned by those higher in the economic brackets. These claims cannot be easily ascertained due to the fact that the background of volunteers has not been conclusively documented. Again, the existing data on the socio-economic background of the recruits is inadequate. However, it is important to note that the demographic composition of those in the army is a reflection of the racial and ethnic groups of a nation. Whites comprise the largest group followed by blacks which is the largest minority group. Indeed as the existing research has pointed out, “fatalities of white service members have been higher than their representation in the force” an indication that an AVF is also representative. (Congress Budget Office). These facts waters down the claims that re-instatement of military draft will ensure that the military reflects the national demographics.
An All Volunteer Force remains the best as has been observed; many of the so called benefits of the reinstating military drafts are being watered down by the inherent weaknesses of the system. Reinstating military drafts is against the core ideals of the force. One of the major ramifications lies in the ineffectiveness of the military while it compromised of drafts; this is in stark contrast of the All Volunteer Force. This is a conclusion that has been reached by comparing military drafts in the 60s with the past 30 years of an AVF. As has been observed, “the All volunteer Force (AVR) has served the nation for more than a quarter century, providing a military that is experienced smart, disciplined and representative of America.” (Office of the under secretary of Defense). This is raging view by many analysts. Reinstatement of the military drafts hence is likely to bring in the problem of soldiers that are below the required standards, “recruits today are better educated and score higher on pentagon tests than do civilian youths.” (Doug 437). A look at the history of conscription indicates that there was a higher risk of drafting men and women that did not have adequate qualification hence hampering the general performance of the force. For the force to be successful in its mission and be able to accomplish the objective of securing the American people members of the force have to be intelligent and highly capable, this is contrary to the draft system which was mostly concerned with quantity rather than quality. A look at the current system indicates that it has clearly outlined the specific standards and academic requirements. These, a look at the heydays of conscription, indicate that proper standards were not clearly adhered to.
Additionally, a reinstatement of the military drafts runs the risk of filling the military with a force that lacks in experience compared to an all volunteer force. This is because most of the draftees are bound to quit within their first two years. Only about 10 percent of the draftees stick with the force compared to 50% when it comes to the All Volunteer Force. Needless to say, an inexperienced force is detrimental to the security of the nation. An added advantage that comes with the AVF is that it is able to maintain a force that has exposure and that can handle high powered weaponry. A look at the United States for example indicates that “the high aptitude, high experience AVF has encouraged the department to leverage its weapons procurement in the direction of systems that are equally or more lethal while requiring fewer people.” (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense). It is hence prudent to conclude that the more experienced, intelligent and competent the force, the fewer the personnel and the powerful the weapons procured.
A reinstatement of the military drafts runs the risk of introducing indiscipline into the force. According to most analysts, comparing the current force with the past conscripted ones, “(currently) discipline and morale are superior to that of the draft era.” (Doug 437) Through drafting, there is a risk of bringing in ill-disciplined mercenaries into the force. Discipline is the core to the success of any force. Conscription makes it mandatory for all able bodied men and women join the force at a certain age. Conscription hence means that people may join the force against their will and hence lacking in any sense of motivation. Such coercion may bring indiscipline and be a source of mutinies. This is one of the most mentioned problems when it comes to conscription. Tentative statistics available indicate that military draftees are highly likely to engage in mutiny compared to the All Volunteer Forces. There is also the likelihood of a low morale in the force. The logic behind this does not only lie in the fact that most of those in the force are being forced to join a career they would not have wanted to pursue but also they maybe serving in the midst of others that are under qualified. Vietnam War is often cited as the best exemplification of the probable woes of conscription. During the war, there were instances of insubordination due to the fact that highly educated people were being forced to take order from officers who had barely a college education. Indeed as Ernest (333) mentions, there was “evidence of hostility toward the senior noncommissioned officers from certain elements within the battalion.” In worst case scenarios, such insubordination and hostility often led to a number of unexplained murders. Conscription hence without doubt is likely to lead to a highly demoralized, largely ineffective and ill disciplined force, this is often a problem that is often lacking in the AVF system as mot of people will have chosen to join the force in a clear understanding and appreciation of the various challenges they are likely to face.
Congressional Budget Office. The All-Volunteer Military: Issues and Performance
July 2007. Retrieved on 28 January 2009 from http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=8313&type=0&sequence=1
Ernest F. Fisher. Guardians of the Republic: A History of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps of the U.S. Army. Stackpole Books, 2001, 333
Doug Bandow. The Politics of Plunder: Misgovernment in Washington. Transaction Publishers, 1990, 437
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness). Conscription Threatens Hard-Won Achievements and Military Readiness. Retrieved on 28 January 2009 from http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2003/d20030114avf.pdf