NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Back To The Military Draft?

February 19, 1999

Policy analysts report that there is serious talk of bringing back the military draft system, which was abandoned 26 years ago. The strong U.S. economy is hampering the military services' recruitment effort and quotas are going unfilled. But the economy is not the only obstacle. According to U.S. Army Recruiting Command data, stringent standards disqualify most service-age men.
  • Among the 10 million U.S. males ages 17 to 21 years, 41 percent are academically disqualified because they lack a high school diploma or have low test scores.
  • Another 23 percent are medically or morally disqualified, and another 15 percent are in college.
  • Some 5 percent are already in the services or already out, with an additional 2 percent in prison or jail.
  • That leaves 14 percent -- or 1.4 million -- who would be available to serve, if they chose.

Experts say that the prospect of being sent to such places as Bosnia or Kosovo -- to serve in conflicts which hold little interest for them -- has dimmed the appeal of a military career for a number of young people. "I have yet to run into anybody who joined because they wanted to be a peacekeeper," comments one Army veteran. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, believes young men are turned off by the military's political correctness and a more feminine image which has emerged since women have been encouraged into the services. Senior military officials don't like the idea of reinstituting the draft -- fearing that it would result in a reduction in personnel quality.

Source: Brian Mitchell, "Is the Draft in Your Future?" Investor's Business Daily, February 19, 1999.


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