8 Advantages and Disadvantages of the Military Draft

In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring all male citizens aged 26 to 35 to register for the military draft. The conscription ended in 1973, and since then The United States has had an all-volunteer armed forces. However, some Americans have been suggesting the reinstatement of the military draft and this has been gaining more attention lately. Reactions to this idea have been both positive and negative, as citizens weigh the pros and cons of bringing back the conscript system.

List of Advantages of the Military Draft

1. It eliminates multiple re-deployments and provides a stronger military.
With more soldiers, there can be a sufficient number of fresh reserves ready to defend the country in case war breaks out. Aside from that, since there are more troops there is less tendency for individuals to be re-deployed several times during their service period, allowing them more ‘down time’ and hopefully decreasing the number of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases.

2. It promotes stronger national unity.
A large number of individuals who volunteer for the United States army are in need of a career or money for higher education. Conscription can diversify the military since people from all classes of society should enlist. This removes the disproportionate amount of burden from ethnic minorities and the poor, and creates better integration of races and economic class and stronger national unity.

3. It creates a more competitive workforce.
Military training equips young people with skills and knowledge that make them better equipped and more competitive even when transitioning to a career outside the armed forces.

4. It promotes discipline and public service in the youth.
Youth who have no direction or drop out of school due to bad behavior can learn essential life skills when joining the military. They learn about responsibility, working for a greater cause, and protecting freedom.

List of Disadvantages of the Military Draft

1. It violates individual liberties.
Freedom of choice is a right that many Americans firmly believe in. By taking away this liberty, citizens can feel resentment towards the government and even towards the armed forces.

2. It can cause civil unrest.
It won’t be just those who are forced to enlist who will harbor negative opinions about the government and military. Loved ones and anti-war advocates will also be disapproving of the idea, especially since they know it is putting the lives of so many young citizens at risk. Rallies and demonstrations were very common during the Vietnam War draft.

3. It demands more financing from the national budget.
Currently, the military already takes more than half of the national budget. By increasing the size of the armed forces, more funds are required. So, more money will be taken from other government sectors and projects, affecting social resources and programs.

4. It increases the number of wartime injury cases.
Even if troops can have more down time, it does not guarantee that they won’t incur physical and emotional injuries during deployment. Cases of PTSD are still highly common among current volunteer military and veterans, and they will most likely increase as more individuals witness the ravages of war first hand.

Defending the country from possible threats is necessary in order for citizens to lead safe and happy lives. However, in doing so, should a government put more people at risk, including those who do not want to be directly involved in a war that they might not even consider their own?