Today the United States is a volunteer military, with the requirement that every able-bodied male who reaches the age of eighteen sign up for a draft. Although the draft has not been used since Vietnam, men must sign just in case the need for a great number of Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airman is needed. There are a large number of countries that do have Conscription (mandatory military service). Each country has different requirements for the length and the positions to be served. Many people make the point that conscription would not keep us from getting in to conflicts over seas, and it would increase the cost spent on military training and arming of all the new service members, further putting us in a defect position. At the same time, The American academic and foreign policy realist, Stephen Walt, made a good point that calling for a return to conscription might sound like a silly right-wing trope, but it makes sense from an anti-war perspective. “We might be less eager to send our soldiers to fight and die in distant conflicts if there were the slightest possibility that we might have to go, too.” Reinstating conscription might make congress and the countries leaders rethink sending our men and women overseas to fight in a conflict if every American citizen had to provide time in service. In addition, it would build a sense of nationalism it seems our country has lost in comparison to years past.
Although today, America as an all-volunteer army, found there were times conscription had to be mandatory. The first time the United States installed the draft was in 1792. The young United States required mandatory militia service for every white male from 18-45 years of age. The draft was used five times in five large conflicts consisting of: the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, and again during the Vietnam War. Between 1861 and 1973, 16,464,000 were conscripted into military service. Unlike past confrontations there is not a surplus of people enlisting in the military, putting more pressure on existing resources. Until the prolonged confrontations in both Iraq and Afghanistan the army met its annual recruiting goals. However, since then, the number of people enlisting and or re-enlisting has decreased.
The 20th century saw the largest conscription numbers in the world’s militaries. In World War I, the German Emperor conscripted 3.4 million men to fight in the trenches while Russia drafted 15 million soldiers for its army. Conscription also sustained the armies of both Allied and Axis powers during World War II. Not only did this time period have a high rate in the number of draftees, it also had one of the highest rates of volunteers because of the nationalism and pride the young draftees showed for their countries. I firmly believe it would happen once again if conscription were re-instated.
There are still a lot of countries that have conscription. These countries are: Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Bermuda, Brazil, Burma (Myanmar), Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Iran, Israel, South Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan (ROC), Turkey, and Ukraine. The majority of these countries are ones in conflicts or always under threat of conflict from other warring states. For example, Israel has had a conscript military since May 26, 1948 by order of Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was set up as a conscript army formed out of the paramilitary group Haganah. The IDF differs from the majority of military forces throughout the world. The difference is not only that it is a conscript army, but they also conscript the women for military serves. Israel is the only country that conscripts women and assigns them combat positions alongside the men. Men must serve for three years at minimum, while the women serve only two years. This also depends on the job. If the woman has a combat or tech job they often