Table of Contents
The United States is today confronted with numerous challenges both domestic and foreign. One of the most significant threats the US faces in the modern dispensation is terrorism. The US has become a target for most terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. Moreover, Russia’s growing aggressive tendencies and the Ballistic missile testing by North Korea puts the US in a very precarious situation. The peace and security of the US are at stake. The United States military is engaged in many conflicts abroad. For example, the US has troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and South Korea among others. The primary objective of the US military is to protect, preserve and guarantee the peace, freedom, and security of America. Due to the many threats facing the US and overstretched military personnel, conscription must be established. To this extent, a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution is proposed to ensure mandatory two-year military service.
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It is imperative to underscore that it is not the first time the conscription amendment is being proposed. In 1792, the US established a militia, which was mandatory for all the white males between the age of 18 and 45. Some attempts by Congress to pass the conscription legislation for the 1812 War failed. However, some states implemented it. In April of 1862, the draft was adopted by the Confederacy (Danver, 2011). In January 1812, President Abraham Lincoln evoked the Emancipation Proclamation, which effectively freed the slaves. Congress passed the National Enrollment Act in 1863 citing an undersized military (Danver, 2011). The Act was designed to ensure single men between the age of 20 and 45 and married men up to the age of 35 were subjected to a draft lottery.
The enlistment of individuals into the military ensured a sizeable number of the Union troops. However, the draft faced numerous challenges and was controversial among the working class. The draft gained root again 1863 after riots broke out in New York with the black community being the target (Simon & Abdel-Moneim, 2011). Close to ten thousand troops were deployed to respond to the violent tendencies. However, after the exercise opposition to the draft emerged again and it was dropped. During World War One and Two mandatory military service was established to deal with the challenging situations of the wars. The last conscription was in 1963 (Simon & Abdel-Moneim, 2011). Throughout history, conscription or mandatory military service was designed to respond to some crisis or threats either inside or outside the United States. The world has changed to a greater extent with conflicts and wars being witnessed everywhere. It is necessary to have conscription today.
Mandatory military service for two years can be implemented in various forms. However, age, health, and well-being of an individual must be put into consideration. First, all single men in the US between the age of 19 to 40 will be subjected to mandatory military service. Consequently, married individuals below the age of 38 are expected to serve a mandatory military service for two years. Second, those who are recruited into the military must have the physical strength and should not have any terminal illness or severe health challenge. The designated age groups that are allowed to join the military must present medical reports to ascertain their level of fitness and health. The essence of carrying out medical checks is to prevent catastrophic events or problems once an individual joins the service.
The disabled males are exempt from the process. Third, the law is designed to ensure that all the qualified males within the designated age groups must not get any employment opportunities without undertaking the mandatory military service. Finally, all the military departments must admit a specific number of men in all the military training installations spread around the US. Consequently, the military departments must have specific programs and guidelines that guide the exercise from the commencement of completion period.
The individual states must play a role in ensuring that all the eligible men who are healthy and have no physical defects are enrolled in the various military training facilities. Additionally, there should be a database of all the people who have undergone the mandatory military service. The database is critical in acting as reference points for both the state and federal governments. The objectives and goals of the exercise must be well spelled out to ensure that the recruits understand the essence of them going through the processes. The mandatory military service for two years must be financed by the federal government and other relevant agencies.
Political Implications of the Amendment
The draft of conscription has never been popular in the US. In the 1800s, there was a mandatory recruitment of the male, white men into the militia. Military members of the armed forces were found in almost every state, and the operations of these groups were funded by the federal government. One of the primary responsibilities of the white militias was to deal with the violent tendencies of the slaves. A collective majority of the slaves were black people. This amendment is likely to bring back memories when the military was employed by the Confederates to undermine the freedom and peace of the slaves.
The amendment is also likely to cause a political fallout, especially when it comes to budgetary allocation. Today, the US budget deficit stands at $176.2 billion. The mandatory military service for two years is likely to overstretch the budget because the program requires huge financial investments. The Republicans and Democrats have always disagreed on the budgetary allocations. For instance, the Republicans have always insisted on a lean budget that ensures that the unnecessary programs are exempt from getting any funding (Cowan, R. & Cornwell, 2015). It is no doubt that the amendment to mandatory military service for two years will not have a bipartisan backing.
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Arguments For Mandatory Military Service
The US today is confronted with many security challenges. Almost all the terrorist organizations and their affiliates desire to cause harm to the American citizens and provoke violence. As a consequence, mandatory military service for two years will help the US meet the limitations that are encountered in the security sector (Ruschmann, 2003). The mandatory military service will ensure that the military can have a close engagement with the civilian populations as a measure of avoiding a repeat of the Nazi Party manipulation of the professional military personnel (Shoham, 2010). Proponents of the mandatory military service intimate that it would be easy to get troops to deploy in areas where there are conflicts and war.
The US is a nation that is built on strong values and principles that guide its interaction with the rest of the world. Conscription is essential in ensuring that it strengthens national identity. While the primary objective of the mandatory military service is training the citizens to be ready to deal with threats from extremists and terrorists, the idea is to strengthen the people’s loyalty to the state as well as enhancing a sense of national identity (Ruschmann, 2003). The process may also help in indoctrinating the young people with better community and national traits as well as the intrinsic values. Some of the values that the young people might develop as a result of mandatory military service include discipline, self-reliance, time management and respect for the rule of law (Hogg & Abrams, 2001). The service may aid in helping the youth to focus on a sense of nationhood and nation building.
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Arguments Against the Amendment
While proponents argue that mandatory military service is the best way of fending off external and domestic threats as well as ensuring a sense of nationhood and patriotism, others disagree. For example, opponents of the mandatory military service for two years suggest that the exercise exhibits excess burden to the federal government (Poutravaara & Wagener, 2009). The opportunity cost of the process is relatively cheaper to the extent that the recruits are only paid some allowance. However, pundits argue that the accounting costs of the exercise are high (Poutravaara & Wagener, 2009). The use of compulsion suggests higher costs and that has negative economic impacts. The mandatory military service for two years can cause deadweight losses and economic distortions (Poutravaara & Wagener, 2009). For example, distortionary effects to the US economy would be due to the need by the government to raise taxes to fund the exercise. Economically, the mandatory military service for two years would have negative implications for the economy.
The mandatory military service faces the question of production and specialization efficiency. Many economists hold the view that the military draftees are inferior in the sense that they are never equipped with the professional training (Poutravaara & Wagener, 2009). The principle of comparative advantage suggests that roles are only assigned to qualified and specialized personnel. By forcing people to join the military, conscription is an affront to the principle of comparative advantage where people are matched with the jobs they are qualified for within a particular area (Deardorff & Stern, 2012).
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Even though there are individuals who argue against mandatory military service, it is imperative to underscore that the exercise will be more beneficial to the US. For example, when the legislation is passed, the military will have enough troops to deploy in areas where there are conflicts and wars. Consequently, the passage of the amendment would ensure the enhanced security of the US both domestically and foreign. However, the amendment proposes that Congress may propose changes to the law to respond to the growing concerns and events at a particular time.
- Cowan, R. & Cornwell, S. (2015). Congress Budget Talks Hobbled By Major Disagreements. Fortune.
- Deardorff, A. V., & Stern, R. M. (2011). Comparative Advantage, Growth, and the Gains from Trade and Globalization: A Festschrift in Honor of Alan V. Deardorff. New Jersey: World Scientific.
- Danver, S. L. (2011). Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations, and Rebellions in American history: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
- Poutravaara, P. & Wagener, A. (2009). The Political Economy Of Conscription. The Handbook on the Political Economy of War.
- Ruschmann, P. (2003). Mandatory Military Service. New York: Infobase Pub.
- Hogg, Michael A. & Abrams, D. (2001). Intergroup Relations: Essential Readings. Psychology Press.
- Simon, R. J., & Abdel-Moneim, M. A. (2011). A handbook of military conscription and composition the world over. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books.
- Shoham, S. G. (2010). To Test The Limits Of Our Endurance. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.