A proposal to include women in the military draft, supported in Congressional testimony by the heads of the Marine Corps and Army, was stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act by a close vote of the House Rules Committee this week. But agitation for universal military conscription will continue, sometimes from the left, so “so that Americans ‘feel the burden’ of ongoing military operations against Islamic militants, will not go away.”
After 23 years of military service, it is clear to me that a universal draft is not essential, and indeed would be harmful to our national security.
Asking everyone to serve would be a disaster. Assume you put in a draft of “every” high school graduate. Approximately 3.9 million people turn 18 each year in the United States. Say of those, 80% are “fit” for military service (i.e., meet height/weight requirements, no issue with narcotics use, no criminal issues), you are talking of induction of 3.2 million people a year. This is a World War II level of forced public service when we are not at war with major powers.
If this is a two-year draft enlistment (what was used in Vietnam, as opposed to “the duration” during WWII), the armed forces will have to in-process and train them. The Army (and the other services) don’t have the facilities to in-process that many men and women right now. Can you imagine the cost of bringing online multiple basic training posts throughout the county? Currently we induct approximately 200K a year across all four branches of service, enlisted and officers. A draft could increase this by more than a factor of 15!