It’s been 50 years since the last person was drafted into the U.S. armed forces. Since then the military has relied on volunteers to fill its ranks, building what politicians claim is the world’s finest fighting force. But, the military is facing a recruiting crisis. Only 9% of young Americans would consider military service instead of entering a strong civilian job market. And, fewer than 1 in 4 young people qualify academically or physically to join the military. The Army is now running schools to bring recruits who fall short of the standards into mental and physical shape.
Class discussion: Would you consider a military career? Why or why not? Do you think you could meet the military’s physical and academic standards? Would lowering standards for recruits make the armed forces weaker? Should we offer foreign recruits U.S. citizenship in exchange for military service? The military draft ended after the unpopular Vietnam War. Since then, has it been easier for American politicians to send volunteer forces off to war? Can we continue to rely on an all-volunteer force? If the United States got involved in a much bigger conflict, would need to again draft soldiers?