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Pros and Cons of Mandatory Military Service

Conscription is a word which means forcing individuals to serve in the military. Based on records, the history of mandatory military service has been practiced in several countries, most of these events happened during war times.

Military service was first observed in the Roman Empire and during the feudal era in the Western Hemisphere. However, it became a formal part of the modern military service during the Napoleonic Era. Prior to World War I, Europeans maintained a large involuntary army. World War I and II were both battles of conscripted armies.

In the U.S., the first use of draft happened during the American Civil War – both for the Union and Confederate armies. It happened again during the Cold War-era wars in Korea and Vietnam. However, the conscription ended in 1973 due to the Vietnam experience.


Today, there is still a huge debate regarding mandatory military service. Some people object to it as part of anti-war movements, while others object to it due to political and religious reasons. The topic became even more controversial when the previous president Barack Obama supported the bill stating that women should be included in the military draft. Last year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter opened all combat roles to women, adding more than 200,000 jobs to the ones available to them. Before we judge whether mandating military service is for the better or the worse, it is important to weigh in its pros and cons.

Pros of Mandatory Military Service

  • National Unity

If all citizens were forced to serve in the military, they will be able to build camaraderie due to shared experiences which took place during their service. Everyone will be able to better understand each other or be more open-minded to other people’s circumstances. Moreover, they will be able to understand the sacrifices that every soldier needs to do in order to protect the country.

  • Political Participation

Since most of the citizens will be required to serve during critical times, it will encourage everyone to be aware of current events and participate in issues like national security. People will have more courage to voice their opinions on how the government should address the issues of the country.


  • Equality

Using this strategy, no one is exempted from facing the wars. All citizens – including celebrities, politicians, and businessmen – will be required to serve the country during crucial times. Therefore, it eliminates social statuses. Furthermore, both men and women will participate, what will promote respect for everyone regardless of their genders.

  • Gaining useful skills

When civilians enter the military, they will be taught some vital technical skills like shooting guns, operating and disarming explosive devices, and even repairing cars. Furthermore, it will definitely teach people about teamwork, leadership, responsibility, stress management, organization, diversity, global awareness, and much more.

  • Maintain active military force

Even though there are no emergency situations, the country will have a large army that can quickly respond to any threat to national security. Therefore, other invading countries will think twice before attacking.


Cons of Mandatory Military Service

  • Violates free will

Since it is mandatory to be enlisted, no one is exempted from serving in the military. Therefore, it certainly violates the free will of the people – which is also one of the biggest arguments in most countries.

  • Compromises the quality of military service

Some citizens who will be forced to serve may be reluctant to learn the necessary skills of a soldier. If this happens, unprepared soldiers will be sent to war without adequate knowledge and may result in high casualty rate.

  • The lives of young people are at risk

The scary part of being a soldier is being exposed to death. However, not all deceased soldiers dies in war or in actual combat, unfortunately some of them died during training. The exercises are rigorous, which can seriously harm young people or result in death.

  • Interference to other forms of education

Most citizens who will be drafted are young men and women. They are at the peak of their learning capabilities. In case that the country is to experience war, these young soldiers will have to abandon their studies and delay their pursuit of higher education or a career.

  • Not everyone is fit to enter the military

The training which soldiers will undergo doesn’t only involve physical activities, it also pushes the mental and psychological aspects of everyone to the limit. Thus, there are individuals who might not be able to properly do their tasks at the time of needs.

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