Conscription in the 21st Century the Central Article Review

Excerpt from Article Review :

Conscription in the 21st Century

The central problem that this research will explore is predicated on the view that conscription is based on the rights and duties of the citizen and furthermore, that conscription adds a positive dimension to both social life and the life of the individual. The argument against conscription often does not take into account the value that conscription can bring in terms of social and individual improvement and the alleviation of both individual and socials problems. This is a central aspect that should be focused on in understanding the advantages of conscription.

The problem statement that will therefore be investigated is as follows. The youth in our country are living a sedentary life with many young people having no direction or discipline. This affects society in many ways and includes issues such as unemployment and poor health among young people. Consequently, conscription should be enforced as it serves to solve a number of problematic issues in society and for the individual.


The central hypothesis that will be explored in this study is as follows: conscription as a societal mechanism adds value to the lives of individuals and is a valuable asset in creating a more stable, motivated and healthy society. The variables that would be considered as part of this hypothesis are: the central variable of positive value in relation to variables such as discipline, mental and physical health, goals orientation and task directedness, as well as the effect of variables such as crime and productivity in society.

Statement of the Research Objectives

The research objectives for this study are firmly based on the rationale discussed above. The central research objective is to ascertain whether the proposed hypothesis is valid. In essence, this refers to the view that conscription provides a positive and valuable contribution to society and to the lives of the individuals in that society. In more detail, the proposed objectives would include a thorough investigation of the advantages that conscription can provide; for example, the way in which it can help young people to be more disciplined, motivated and directed in their approach to life.

Allied with the above, the research objectives would include reports, literature and various methodologies relating to the extent to which conscription does, or does not, provide value to society and advantages for the individual; for example, whether it is true to say that more directed, disciplined and motivated youth leads to a decrease in factors such as unemployment and crime, and whether this can be linked to the outcomes of conscription.

Review of the Literature

All citizens of the United States are members of the country's political community and have a fundamental obligation to demonstrate allegiance. For instance, according to Black's Law Dictionary, a citizen is "one who, under the Constitution and laws of the United States, or of a particular state, is a member of the political community, owing allegiance and being entitled to the enjoyment of full civil rights" (p. 244). The form that such allegiance assumes varies, of course, but one act that has historically been accepted as satisfying this obligation to country is military service. In this regard, Bandow suggests that, "Conscription enforces the moral duties of citizenship" (p. 23). The military draft, though, ended in the United States in 1973 and was replaced with an all-volunteer military force. According to Bandow (2000), "Despite a rocky start, the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) now provides America with the highest quality military in its history and the finest armed services in the world. Yet recruiting and retention problems have begun to appear. As a result, there are an increasing number of calls for a return to conscription" (p. 23). The draft was discontinued in 1973 in the United States based on several factors. For instance, according to Jehn and Selden (2002), "The end of the cold war and the increasing sophistication of weapons systems are often cited as reasons for eliminating conscription" (p. 93).

In 2003, concerned about manpower shortages and the expanding role of America in world affairs, the U.S. Department of Defense issued so-called "stop/toss" orders that applied to every branch of the armed forces that prevented all servicemembers, including those whose terms of service had ended, from leaving the military service until further notice (Schaeffer-Duffy, 2003). Since that time, the United States has been engaged in two shooting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the potential for hostilities…

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