Published On: Sat, Apr 28th, 2012

Mandatory Military Service: The Cons, the Pros

Mandatory military service is a very tentative subject. You have one side who is all for it and the many benefits it would provide to the men and women of our country. But then you have the side who is highly against as well.

By law, if mandatory military service existed in America, it would most likely be effective immediately for those men and women leaving high school, to join the military for at least two years. Many countries in the world today still force their men, and in some cases women, to go into service. Iran, Greece, Russia, South Korea and Egypt to name a few.

The advantages to having mandatory military service are tremendously good. Citizens would become stronger not only physically, but mentally as well. Our society as a whole would become more interested in world affairs as well, since no one would want to be participating in another war. Most foreign countries wouldn’t want to mess with us either if we have 300 million battle-hardened soldiers.

No country would even think of invading us if every man, woman and child in our nation knew how to fight and react to a real combat situation. It would result in utter chaos for the invaders; everywhere they’d look there would be an enemy.

We’d also come to respect some of the many freedoms and values our country has, since many freedoms are lost when they are put into the service, specifically in boot camp. Many men and women have died to protect those rights, but many of us take them for granted, myself included. We don’t really understand how good we have it.

Drive down the street and you’ll probably pass more Mcdonalds and other fast food restaurants than could be counted on both of your hands. Stores are now digitalizing because we are too lazy to go and get the product we want ourselves, most prefer it delivered in the mail to our doorstep overnight. The benefits of hundreds of years of peace at home are showing brightly.

During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates continue to climb. In 2010, every state in America stated that 20 percent or more of the people were obese. Now, 35.7 percent of adults in the United States are obese and approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese. If we all served in the military, these alarming rates would drop very quickly because people would be required to be physically fit for duty.

We’d also come to respect some of the many freedoms and values our country has, since many are lost when we are put into the service, specifically in boot camp. Many men and women have died to protect those rights, but many of us take them for granted, myself included. We don’t really understand how good we have it.

But, having mandatory military service would conflict with the idea that the United States is a country of freedom and that any attempt by the government to force us to give up two years of our lives is un-American. We have the freedom to choose how we want to live and enact our lives, not Congress.

The U.S. does have a draft however, only to be used if we were in a national crisis. A draft held today would use a lottery system under which a man would spend only one year in first priority for the draft. Yet the last time we had one was in 1973 for the Vietnam War. But the military would probably perform a lot better with an all-volunteer force than it would be able to do with a bunch of unhappy draftees. On the battlefield, you want to have someone you can trust and know can get the job done, not an airhead who’d rather be back at home on the couch watching TV. One mistake by a member in one unit could be the end for everyone near him. It’s life or death, not a game.

Enforcing military service for everyone in the country would spawn a chain of events that would transform our society as we know it probably for the better, but it just isn’t the American way. We have one of the largest and most technologically advanced militaries in the world right now. I’m highly confident we could respond to any threat thrown at us as well as we could with an extra hundred million troops. Besides, war is won not by strength, but by wit alone.

About the Author

- Editor in Chief

Displaying 39 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Dylan Hamilton says:

    Mr.Tate I highly respect your views on conscription and or mandatory military service after high school. I am a resident of Illinois and proudly serve our U.S Army. I joined the service while still being in high school and do not regret a second of it. I am in college now and I am using your article I found on google as a reference. I decided to write you because it is inspiring to know there are still great minds in America. Keep up the good work. If you do any articles about our government and or our military I would enjoy to see them.

    Specialist Hamilton Army Illinois National Guard

  2. I served in the Army for 4 yrs. Lived in a few large cities and know a lot of young people need discipline in there lives.Lots of parents are letting there kids run wild and not teaching them anything.If people between 18/20 were forced to go in the military for at least 1 yrs. the crime rate in America would drop dramatically.

  3. Kadisha says:

    Ok this article says pros AND cons i hardly see any cons, I do agree with you to a certain extent my father was in the Military but forcing teenagers to go to war is like saying you have a 50/50 chance that you could end up with PTSD of course all who serve have it to a certain extent but honestly i think we would only be safe for a certain amount of time and i dont mean we are going to get attacked because your right who would want to start something but we would have more and more loved ones so distant from us because of the disorders we could get and honestly to me being attacked by my own family member or loved one is more hurtful to me than someone i dont know that is trying to harm me, and yes consideration for the loved one doesnt know what they are doing and we think its ok because of that but realy that could be the weakest link. by doing this we are keeping our kids safe but my grandfather served as a Navy Seal and hes attacked me from the time i was little till now even, i was 13 when i moved in and it got worse when my father and I moved in but it didnt work out and hes done stuff to doctors and nurses to where they dont want to be around him or help him. There are so many more cons but when you post an article make sure either more clear on what the Cons are or put more in not trying to be rude at all just letting you know as a reader i saw maybe two actual cons and the rest was pro. Please get ahold of me it would be nice to talk about this further.

    • Fina says:

      Kadisha could you please give me some cons, because I am doing a research and I am against compulsory military service.. I would really appreciate if you could help me with some ideas.

      • Steve says:

        LOL, Im doing a report on why it should be mandatory. Lets be honest here. After reading many articles on this subject I think the pros out way the cons 10 to 1.

  4. commento says:

    One con would be watered down training. With such a large number of inductees the level of quality military training would have to be watered down to a one fits all level. Once all have to go, it would be like two more years of school. If children can make it though high school without learning anything of value, they can surely do two more years in the army.

    Another con exposure to corruption. Well-learned, thoughtful, obedient children would now be exposed to and possibly corrupted by the lowlifes who are there too. You wouldn’t want your good child corrupted or hooked on drugs, alcohol, tobaccoo etc. because the are forced into close quarters with that element.

    Further who decides what the curriculum is in the military? Does it change with political whim, probably, are they the same values you might share? maybe not.

    Don’t get me wrong I came to your page because I was having the same thought that something must be done to avoid idiocracy, to socialize, to organize and motivate the lost generation that are today’s youths. Military seemed a great idea. I had many of the same conclusions as you and also thought of all the good a highly mobilized youth could do in the world.

    Unfortunately all the seeming good would most likely end up just a pipe dream as with most utopian fantasy’s, and could in fact become a nightmare of a hitler youth society other as yet unseen worse consequences.

  5. t says:

    you ungreatful people! i think it should be mandatory,,, do you wannna stay safe! think about it if everyone was strong and could take care of them self instead of being bums there might be less crime! maybe some of you need to be sent acrosss the wrold where you have to watch your all the time and people lil kids die everyday! willl see how greatful you are then

    • Isaiah Moss says:

      Right with you on THAT ONE. All of these ungrateful kids should have to work their butts off and be put in mandatory military service.

      • Carlos says:

        Not everyone of service age is ungrateful buddy…

      • Heya! Im 21! Maybe i can provide you with insight into a demographic you obviously know nothing about.
        Guess what?
        I have worked since I was 15. Every one of my employers have said I am one of the hardest working people that they have had work for them. (Yes, with a real job, construction/repair/hard labor in 100 degree weather was my first employment)
        I have never received any state assistance. (Unless you count unemployment for two 4 month periods, which you shouldn’t because I paid into it for a reason.)
        I am one of those lazy, good for nothing video game addicts you guys always complain about.
        I have a strong moral sense of duty. I have never intentionally tried to hurt anyone, nor have a stolen or committed a crime that hurts anyone but myself. Never been arrested or been on probation.
        I smoke weed. I don’t care what you think about this. It is my right to do whatever I care to do with my body and I am aware of any negative side effects it may have.
        I have a fiancee who I have been with for 3 years and are getting married in October. We both have career goals and plan on college as soon as it is financially feasible.
        But no, me and my whole generation need to learn how to take orders from a generation who thought marijuana caused violent uncontrollable hallucination and promiscuity with black men and the middle eastern conflict was a good idea.
        And every time you complain about us. Just try and remember who raised us.

    • derrick rose says:

      whos gonna pay for it? taxes? if thats the case, then crime would go up, not down,and if people have to pay for it then how in the world will kids barely out of highschool pay? what about a real education?

    • Brandon says:

      I am a 17 year old teen and i feel that the military should be mandatory. Does that make me ungrateful? Because honestly i think the military will make you an overall better person, your well being will be much more accepted and you will have your life alot more organized by joining the military as well.

  6. Clinton Martin says:

    I enjoyed this article. It shows the pros and cons very well, I feel that manditory conscription would be a great thing. The crime rates would drastically decrease and the obesity rate would plumit causing The US to be more well respected and cause less conflict with other countries.

  7. Zack says:

    Hey Chandler,

    Your article has really helped in making a research paper over this subject for an English class I have this semester. If you could email me some more ideas that you might have on this subject I would love top here them.

    Thanks
    Zack

  8. Swanson says:

    I love this idea. I’m a high school sophomore going into the USN as an officer after the Naval Academy and I’m doing a persuasive speech trying to convince my classmates that mandatory military service is a good thing fresh out of high school. Thank you for keeping this alive.

  9. Carlos says:

    No. just no, absolutely not, not now or ever. You don’t get much more communistic than mandatory military service. This is not like the draft, at least the draft was ACTUALLY NECESSARY and not every man was guaranteed to serve. Some people are simply not cut out for military service, whether mentally unfit, physically unfit, or both. They would be worse than useless in a combat situation, probably doing something (or likely failing to do something) which kills the rest of their unit. Here’s the crucial difference between a compulsory system and our current one: Voluntary enlistees WANT to be there! Draftees do not! A smaller army made of volunteers who want to fight for their country will perform much better than a larger one made of unhappy draftees who hate military service and have no interest in being there. Take this real life example: prestigious private academies in New England and public schools in East L.A. Naturally the private schools will do better in every aspect academically, obviously due to the fact that in general their students want to be there and not just stay at home smoking weed all day like the kids in LA want to do. And yes, believe it or not, there are many people who are as averted to military service as strongly as the gangsters in LA are averted to school. The constitution guarantees the right to the pursuit of happiness to American citizens. Happiness does not entail wasting two or more years of your life in the military where you lose many other rights and freedoms. The application of compulsory military service signals our country is about to fall.

    • Swanson says:

      The whole point of compulsory military service isn’t to force young men and women to fight. Rather, it’s to teach young men and women how to survive in an economy that’s failing around them, how to separate right from wrong, to make snap decisions that save lives, to teach them valuable life skills. My father joined the US Navy when he was 20 years old, became a corpsman and still practices medicine to this day. These life skills would be ingrained in our young men and women before they set off to better the world.

      • Carlos says:

        I’m grateful for the service of your father and other veterans, however I feel imparting valuable life skills is not the responsibility of the military, that burden supposedly rests on the public schools. Seeing as how schools fail at that much of the time, I do see how a case could be made for compulsory service. But please remember, there are many people who would do very poorly in a military environment, and some would probably not conform or take the life skills to heart. They would come out unchanged, having wasted the governments time and money. That being said, there are many people who would learn the skills and be changed for the better. Realistically though, many young people have criminal tendencies or are involved in gangs or other illicit activity. These people would have the opportunity to corrupt or harm the lawful citizens who serve. In civilian life, said lawful citizens might never come into conflict with these dregs of society, so we can see the lawful ones get the short end of it in this situation. Also we have to view the very point of a military, national defense e.g. waging war. There will be many recruits who will have to fight. You can say the point is not to train these recruits to fight, and it’s true enough that some could go into non-combat roles. But there will always be a need for infantrymen, who necessarily will be trained to fight. So the point of the service, for many young people will be just that: to provide the government with foot soldiers who will fight. The high rates of PTSD in combat veterans suggests that compulsory service in combat units will give a majority of the young people there who served some level of trauma. The government needs to reconsider whether or not it is its mission or its place to give its citizens PTSD, or to expose them to criminals or drug addicts on a daily basis. In an all-volunteer army, delinquents tend not to join, but assuming the mandatory service encompasses the entire population of an age group they would obviously be included.

        • Dave says:

          Carlos,
          You make some valid points, such as the mission of the military is to fight, defend and WIN military engagements. But the military does not choose, as a mission, to give its citizens PTSD, nor to expose them to drug addicts. If mandatory service were instituted, drug testing, as it does every day now, would locate druggies and they would be refused entry, or discharged upon disovery. As far as other criminal types, even those with anti-social histories can be refused if criminal records exist. And maybe some gangbanger/sociopath types get in the doors – the overwhelming majority of servicemembers is lawful and obedient. Any other claim is pure exaggeration, and statistics do not support such statements. If service was mandatory, a high degree of filtering would be put into effect, and although service would be mandatory, not all would be accepted. Take care to consider that the absurd idea of everyone being put in uniform is just that – ridiculous.

      • Dave says:

        NOT! Dude, the list you made about military service is all of the SIDE benefits of serving. There is an absolute mission that each branch of the military is designed for, and these missions are for the most part land (Army) air (Air Force) sea (Navy) and the US Marines fall in under the Navy – they are not a separate branch of the Services.
        When an individual serves in one of these branches, they are instructed in basic skills and in turn, learn values and military ethics in many of the characteristics that you listed,(except “how to survive in an economy that’s failing around them…”)which are extremely good character traits to have as a civilian. And that is why Veterans are given preferential treatment for jobs, and that is why Veterans have a sense of discipline and purpose that civilians do not have. It is because the training of these branches of military requires a tremendous amount of physical and mental endurance. The only thing that comes close is either sports or some other organization like that. Your father’s first mission was to support the naval fight, even though he was a corpsman and provided medical care. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he learned how to perform basic seaman skills such as weaponeering and navigation before specializing in medical care. So, YES, the whole point of military service is to learn how to fight – on land, sea, air. Even if there was mandatory (compulsory) service, the training to accomplish these missions would not change. And NO, the point of military service is not to just have a job in a crappy economy. You have just been schooled. Please feel free to join the branch of your choice. I wish you luck, because you will need a serious attitude adjustment as soon as you are told to low crawl and dig a fighting position!

        • Matt Collins says:

          A country wishing conscription and a strong force in numbers would obviously lower its zero-tolerance policy on drugs. It’s ridiculous to think they would allow the otherwise obligatory draft to be skipped by an easy loophole such as this. Smoke a joint and skip service? I don’t think so. However, I do agree that thorough filtering of physical and mental inefficiencies would be in place as usual. I would like to add that voluntary or not, gangs of all kinds have used the military training to strengthen their claim on territories or are founded on the strong bonds some ex-comrades have created to keep quiet their illicit activities within service. Not all hoodlums are lazy street rats nor open about their affiliations.

          If you want a society as morally pessimistic as Russians, then go right ahead and force the majority to learn the skills of a killing machine. When they acquire a strong lust for blood, we’ll just accuse and lock up the corrupted youth and the government washes its hands. Mandatory participation from congress would be a greater plan, although the bliss of bureaucrats would never allow a trip outside of their ivory towers. Hear me out though: What better way to motivate an army facing war than having your president directly giving orders and participating on the battlefield? If past monarchies had one positive trait for all its failures, it was solidarity in state efforts. When pointing fingers at bums and cowards, try to also include the hypocrites, not just the youth of your country.

  10. nesh says:

    I understand that many feels this is a great way to give back and I agree. But what of those who only have one child and cherish this child then lose this child. What may be good for others may not be good for others. But I feel this is something positive especially for the youths 18 and older. This gives them a chance to grow and become a productive part of society.

  11. nehal ahmed says:

    i think compulsory military service has both pros and cons.

  12. Toni says:

    I think mandatory military service or some type of mandatory community service is necessary these days as not all young people are being taught how to respect anything, not even themselves. Just because you join the military does not mean you are going to war. It means you will get an education and oppoutunity to further yourself in the future. I advocate service for all. Yes, I joined for 4 years and it helped with my college education and career and I am now retired from that profession at age 55.

  13. MikeM says:

    Hey, I just got out of the Marines 9 months ago. I am currently going to college on the GI Bill. It should be mandatory. Lets be honest, we are at war now. Why do they have to resend the same men into battle? All my Marine friends are from poor families and leave service better men and women. All my friends at home while I was in, smoked weed, or collect unemployment and they all bitch about everything. News flash: life is hard! It would be great to not have to resend the same men. One Marine I know missed his first daughters birth, and got sent back and missed his third child’s birth (a boy). Its sad. And college is the worse, rich kids bragging about their cars and clothing. Getting drunk and trying to get laid without a worry in the world. My marine buddies and myself have had to fight for everything we have. Well sorry for rambling on, thanks for listening to my two cents. Mike

    • The US Marines are some of the most pathetic military personnel on the planet. The youth of America must stand AGAINST the us marines and all US military service. What were you earning. Five grand a year? Marines earn poverty wages and fill thousands of graves when terrorists gun them down.

      • Steinfeld says:

        How dare you say that the Marines are the most pathetic military personnel, EVERY marine is trained to be a rifleman and is respected around the entire world, being a 18 year old the youth of America needs to learn respect for these men and woman that serve our country every single day allowing you to even use the computer that you dont deserve to have the right to use. They are the reason you can say anything like that without being hunted down and killed. You go join the marines and tell me how much you get out of it. First is how to be a citizen to this country, second is to be able to gain an education by having military help pay for that, third is that you gain more benefits from being in the military than any other thing that you can do at age 18 (other than becoming an iconic millionaire i.e. Steve Jobs) the money that you get paid is to help you not become the thing to rely on. So until you stop being an arrogant and ignorant person who does not know anything about our military, then keep off the internet with your ineffectual opinions

        • Colton says:

          I agree I am a Future Sailor in the navy but i have three friends going in to the Marines and i have nothing but respect for them. The marines are our front line fighters no low life gets to call them pathetic.

      • D says:

        A lot of people look at Marines as snobby and think highly of themselves BUT… they are highly trained and one of the best trained Military Branches. Not saying the Navy or Coast Guard, etc. aren’t trained very well but Marines do deserve some credit too. As it is my brother is joining them. (I’m going into Army) And my brother has done some research. You have to be very mentally trained and physically in shape. In a show i watched, the Marines out did Army and other countries Military.

  14. Eugenio says:

    Great arguments!

  15. Jayden Smith says:

    I don’t believe that there should be a draft and that’s final.

  16. Jen says:

    This was so helpful! but im not sure about what website this is even for? is it a school?

  17. Chasity says:

    I agreed with this article because all family members were in the service. I also am going to join when I’m done with school.

  18. celeste says:

    where are your sources tate? hard to believe any of your statistics if you didnt cite them….

  19. yeah ummmmm he dont need sources note it’s an opinion peece for a ONLINE SCHOOL PAPER

  20. Jason says:

    To be honest I think mandatory military service is good and has many benefits. Now PTSD would be a problem but those with weak minds and wills get PTSD albeit there are those who have been through some horrific fights and seen some really bad things who have PTSD but i think the majority of mandatory service members would not be sent into combat without reason and would not even come close to the situations that cause PTSD. If i wasnt going to UTI out of high school my first choice would be to enlist with the Marines no offence to the other branches just Marines are my favorite

  21. Sarah says:

    So I’m writing a paper for my freshman English class on this exact subject and I came across this website and this article. I wanted to know if there were any sources that I could check out that you possibly used.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>