That the citizen soldier tradition was alive and well

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that the citizen-soldier tradition was alive and well: After the event, there was debate about the readiness of some reserve units—especially those designated as combat units. But there was no debate about whether the reserve call-up helped forge political support for waging the conflict. Reconfiguring the military in this way emphasized the responsibilities of citizens for national defense. In effect, it revived the traditional republican belief that the state must have the consent of the citizens before marching to war. 31 Finally, the concept of an all-volunteer military has taken root around the world. According to a senior Defense Department official, the American military has become “the envy of the world.” Civilian and military leaders elsewhere have come to realize that a well-trained volunteer force is a more effective way of staffing the armed forces. A number of European Union countries have either abolished the draft recently or are planning to do so. Even Russia and China have made their military less labor-intensive and more technically sophisticated. Are volunteers more aggressive than draftees? Is an all-volunteer force more likely to start wars? MANDATORY MILITARY SERVICE 46
Modern warfare, in which highly skilled soldiers operate sophis- ticated weapons, requires fewer but better-trained personnel than wars of the past did. The draft is no longer an efficient way to find the qualified people the armed forces need. Draftees often leave before they can be taught important skills, and they also create motivation and disciplinary problems while in service. Improved pay and benefits, and greater respect for those serving, have encouraged enough enlistments and reenlistments to make a draft unnecessary. Despite fears that ending the draft would attract the unskilled and uneducated, the all-volunteer military is considered the best-qualified force in the nation’s history. Is the “citizen-soldier”ideal still alive? Or has it become a myth? The United States Can Meet Its Military Commitments Without a Draft 47
48 Reviving the Draft Would Benefit Society T he decision to end the draft was based largely on an economic theory that considered military service a tax and the armed forces an industry that had to compete for workers. However, critics of the free-market approach consider it contrary to the American tradition of civic responsibility. They believe that a recruiting strategy that emphasizes financial rewards is a modern form of commutation, a practice that allowed men from well-to-do families to buy their way out of the military. Critics also fear that the all-volunteer military has created a generation of Americans who have forgotten that they owe a duty to their country and who have become unconcerned about their fellow citizens.

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