The Conversation: A Political Discussion About Enforcing Mandatory Service on United States Citizens


The idea of forced national service in the United States has been a generally unpopular idea since 1973. This is due to the disapproval of the Vietnam War and has stood as such since that time. The Democratic party, as has the Republican party, generally agrees with the stance that forced national service is not presently an issue that has a lot of support.

At present, forced national service would not be a beneficial policy for this country. A main reason that forced national service isn’t a viable idea at this time is population size. We can see the idea of compulsory national and military at play in other nations in the world, such as Israel, but it would not be economically feasible for a nation as large as the United States. China does not have forced conscription and the nations that technically have it written into their respective constitutions still have a major volunteer percentage making up most of the military. To take the budget into consideration would further exemplify why a forced national service commitment would not work. The defense budget of the US is presently the highest of any nation in the globe, and further ballooning that figure when it is not necessary is hardly the priority of any politician.

On a more ideological level, the idea of compulsory national or military service is a good idea. It sounds wonderful, and like a utopian step to keep costs down, give people real world experience, and helps strengthen a nation. But that isn’t where we are. There would be advantages, sure. The all-volunteer nature of the present military has its problems, not the least of which is the “stop-loss” policy that affected many of our service members, where their active duty status was involuntarily extended, but the solution wouldn’t be forced service. Incentivizing national and military service would be an effective alternative to forced service. Better pay for service members and for those in other forms of national service, such as the Peace Corps, would definitely be a great way to increase the volunteer numbers and keep public relations positive.

This question has already been asked thousands of times before and has been concluded for good reason.  The method of a Forced National Service of any nation onto its citizens is inconsistent with the values of a free society.  Not only does forcing our civilians to serve in combat violate their civil liberties, but it removes the sense of honor and sacrifice from our armed forces, the same way a forced donation wouldn’t be an act of charity.

If our citizens maintain the right to refuse National Service, it gives more value to those who serve. Our armed forces stand to gain more from a volunteer-based army, as it would be manned by those who have chosen a career in the military and with it would bring a higher level of skill into the trade.  The national draft should be put aside ONLY in cases of dire emergency.  But as of now, there have been no such circumstances.

America can only stand to lose with National service:  Civil unrest, Militarization of our youth, and the financial strain placed on our government would be just a few of the problems to come out of this proposal.  Youth are free to pursue a higher education with no fear of being sent overseas to fight and that’s the way it should be.  Any military strategist should know the importance of morale amongst troops, if ranks are filled with people who don’t want to be there we could see a rise in desertions, suicides, and fragging amongst our troops.  The civil unrest in this nation (which is already pretty awful) could hit its worst levels since the 1960’s, in an era of the Vietnam war, draft dodgers, and Jim Crow – It’s all vaguely evocative.

When questions like this are being asked, they go against everything that we stand for.  The only time National Service should be enforced is when we are on the brink of defeat and have no other options, when it’s either serve under America or the enemy banner in 3 months.  The question we should be asking ourselves isn’t “Should we have National Service in America?” the real question is “Why are we raising the question of National Service in a free society?”  Bottom line, individuals in this country must be procured the right to do as they see fit and thrive under the lifestyle they so please.  Especially when it comes to serving in the military.

Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, John Kelly, suggested that more Americans should participate in the Military, opening a conversation for mandatory service. Should we see such a policy in the near future, it would be our generation that would ultimately either benefit or suffer from it. With that said, Should the United States enforce National Service onto its citizens? Why or why not?  These responses do not reflect the views of The Viking News but instead wish to start conversation in a time where the nation is polarized in views and values. At the end of the day, we are all Americans.

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