Public Service Conscription: The Future of America

By: Kyle Snyder

Political Science 250 – Introduction to Political Inquiry Professor: Joshua Dunn 7 May 2009

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The idea of military service is and idea that has very strong feelings among countless citizens. In a time frame when the unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing American service members to spend a great amount of time in combat zones and even less time with their loved ones, the idea of a draft is something many people are opposed to. The idea of a draft brings the antiVietnam sentiments of thirty years ago, back to life in the hearts of many. Opponents of such programs claim that the thirteenth amendment to the constitution, banning slavery, protects them from the draft being permissible to take place. But as Chief Justice Edward White stated “It would be a contradiction in terms to declare the Government of the United States a sovereign, endowed with all the powers necessary for its existence, yet lacking in the most essential of all – the power of self defense.”1 The verbiage of his statement begins to separate the powers between self defense and military strategy. Some citizens of the United States see a military as both an offensive and defensive force able to conquer lands or protect the native soil. The idea of a strictly defensive force, a group of citizens who are organized to protect the homeland, from a variety of different enemies, is a new idea to many Americans. These enemies could be terrorist, natural, or even our own neighbors. To remedy this, a solution of public service conscription should be enacted. These individuals would serve as the domestic military following the rules of their local population and enforcing them through a variety of means. A group of individuals trained and equipped by the very people they are assigned


Leon Friedman, "Conscription and the Constitution: The Original Understanding," Michigan Law Review 67, no. 8 (June 1969): 1496, (accessed May 5, 2009).

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to protect. A group of public servants conscripted into homeland tasks to enhance the country both. The idea that a public servant conscription program, enacted on the citizens for a short time, could improve the national quality of life and social aspect of living while building a stronger economy begins to make a stand when the program is considered seriously. Merriam Webster dictionary defines conscription as the “compulsory enrollment of persons especially for military service.”2 But this does not limit conscription to military service. The emotion that comes with the term is immediately what drives people to feel that it is a mandatory draft. In actuality the program of conscription, if used properly, could be more effective than the type of draft the United States has seen in its history. The drafts of the Vietnam era of United States history were based on a level of fairness and randomness. They would use the social security system number scheme to decide who would have to report for duty. The loopholes and escape routes for those not wishing to serve were many as well. By making these loopholes it ended up being an almost volunteer army because the people either were willing to go but afraid to volunteer or too worried about the consequences to turn it down. Very rarely did those who were drafted not wanting to contribute a part. The Program The process of mandatory conscription the United States could implement should be a short term, beneficial, and mandatory process for all citizens. The


Merriam Webster, s.v. "Conscription," definition 1, (accessed May 5, 2009).

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way to implement this would encounter resistance in the beginning few years as citizens would be grandfathered due to age, medical conditions, and a variety of other issues that congress would not support in order to please there constituents. But eventually the program after a generation or two would gain full support because of the benefits it would bring to America. This new program would work on the basis of civil service. Every individual, man and woman, at the age of eighteen would begin a life of public and government service. The date would vary on a few factors, to include but not limited to, school graduation, necessity of service, availability of training facilities, and medical factors that could impact the start of service. Typically a young adult would enter the program within their eighteenth year but not to exceed their twenty first. Once enrolled the individual would attend a formal military style training where they would learn the basic combat skills of a normal military soldier. This portion of the program will not exceed two months of basic combat skills, discipline, first aid, and usage of basic military weaponry. The reason this is established in a military fashion, is due to the fact that the military basic training style formulates well established and disciplined individuals who know how to both lead and follow. It also provides the government with a wealth of trained soldiers that have the basic skills for national defense had the government needed a defensive army for national protection. In no way would these individuals be utilized for national military policy or in a military capacity beyond a defensive nature. Once the two month program is completed the individuals would separate into different areas based on education, requirements,

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and basic need of the country. Every attempt would be made to return them to their local community if available but may not be feasible due to national requirements. Each individual in the program would be tracked by social security number. For those without social security numbers they would be assigned one and enrolled into the social security and national healthcare program. Only those who served in the national conscription program would be granted social security and healthcare benefits after their service commitment is terminated. This allows for the government to ensure their service need is fulfilled, while eliminating unnecessary spending on individuals who have not contributed to the program, thus helping the program grow and not fail. For the individuals without a high school diploma, they would automatically be enrolled into a diploma granting program. This would place a halt on their service time but allow them a chance to obtain a free education that will allow them to further their position in the free world. Once they are awarded their diploma, their service commitment would begin again and continue for the next twenty two months. This would encourage your students to stay in school and graduate so their service commitment was not extended due to dropping out and not earning a diploma, thus increasing intelligence and advancement of the country. Once these requirements are met, the individuals would be enlisted into a training program that would grant them certain skills needed by the local, state, and federal government to fulfill public safety, public works, and advancement of

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community’s projects. These would include, but are not limited to, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, police officers, librarians, clerks, postal workers, and a variety of positions. Once their training is complete, these individuals will serve the remainder of their time in the job they are trained in an area of the country where the government needs them. While there they will be provided payment, food, housing, medical care and basic necessities to performs their job safely, while maintaining a healthy and safe social living environment. After terminating their commitment, a list of open positions would be provided where the individual may chose to continue in the job they were performing at the regular wage of a civilian employee. These would be contract jobs in four year increments. If they chose not to continue their service, they would be terminated from the program and released into the country to perform any function they wish, while maintaining their healthcare benefits. The only way to avoid this program would require an enlistment into the military. This would include reserve officer training candidate programs (ROTC), academy attendance, and regular military enlistments. These programs are minimum four year programs and would require a stronger commitment than that of those being enrolled into the program. No change to their current operations and recruitment would occur. If an individual were to transfer from the program to the military they would not need to attend the military basic training, but would require skill specific training. Rational

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In the current economic environment, it is clear that something needs to change to enhance productivity and create jobs. As of March 2009, the unemployment rate of the United States was at 8.5% and increasing. 3 With that many people unemployed, why would the government not consider the program as a way to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and provide skills required by the government to succeed in the long run. A program like this would grant universal healthcare to those enrolled in the program and their families while fulfilling the public and government works jobs that are vital to the success of the country. President Barack Obama current plan to stimulate the economy includes infusing the economy with $789 billion.4 This money is being injected into the economy in a variety of programs that the government feels will boost the economy, create jobs, and help the public welfare. Of this, the government can invest over $133 billion of the stimulus into programs that can be maintained by the conscription force. This would reduce the required amount of money invested into these by a significant sum, large enough to begin to reduce the national debt, create practical jobs for the newly acquired force, and maintain government jobs at a much lower rate. By granting these skills to all citizens, a force of educated and skilled workers hit the world fully prepared to make the changes in both the technology and social program of the United States. Even if these individuals chose a different career path than that which they were conscripted to do, they would be


"Employment Situation Summary," United States Department of Labor, (accessed May 5, 2009). 4 "Obama's Stimulus Plan - the breakdown," Many Eyes, (accessed May 5, 2009).

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bringing a breadth of career knowledge and discipline into another field of study. These highly skilled and knowledgeable citizens would accelerate America’s science, design, engineering, and language workforce that would send America into a technological advantage over any other country in the world. Study A study was conducted to determine the feelings of this program and how the effectiveness of it would be utilized. Two test groups were surveyed, one of civilian and public employees, and one of current government employees and military service members. The public survey (group A) was distributed to civilians in all fifty states and the United States territories, in random locations, not to exceed five percent in one city. The total number of surveys distributed was ten thousand per state or territory. Because of the sensitivity of the topic pamphlets were distributed with the program explaining common questions and providing information for future questions to be referred to a website where they could fill out a form and receive a reply within three business days. The second group consisted of current government employees (group B) in the jobs that could be fulfilled by this program. These people included military, congressmen, clerks, postal workers, and any job paid for by taxpayer funds. Five hundred and ten thousand surveys were emailed to these government workers and required digital signature proof that they were the one filing out the form. Each response was quantified on a Guttman Scale to find the percentage of approval versus disapproval of each group.

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The study had questions that were linked to the success of the program based on the responses of those involved. Question one of each survey was to ensure that the groups were thinking along the same lines about the program before answering the questions. Question two on survey A was to determine the willingness of the respondents to participate in a program that would provide them free skills. Question two of survey A is linked to questions two and three of survey B. This was to determine weather or not each group was willing to volunteer and help out the betterment of their country and their participation in the program. Question four of each survey was used as distracters to clear the mind of the respondents so that they will answer question five as accurately as possible. Question five was determined to hold the most weight of the ability of the program to succeed as a greater program. The willingness of people to serve directly is related to how they answered this question. Conclusion The idea of a conscripted force of young Americans setting the path for American advancement is the type of move needed to revive America back as the premier country in the world. The citizen force would be highly educated, well versed in a variety of fields, and better prepared to defend the homeland in case of an attack or natural disaster. At any moment the whole country could be mobilized to help their neighbor while becoming a barrier for any country to challenge. The technological advancements are sure to enhance as well creating new technologies, for domestic and military use. These improvements combined with a disciplined workforce, would become the catalyst for all other

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nations to compete with. All of this occurring while, boosting the economy, boosting the social welfare of the citizens, and providing them with the tools needed to keep its citizens healthy, safe, and wealthy.

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Appendix A – Survey Questions Survey Group A Questions (Sample) Does conscription mean military service? ○Yes ○No Would you consider a government job, for example firefighter, police, EMT, if the training was free? ○Yes ○No During a time of necessity, would you be willing to perform these duties for the government, at a reasonable wage? ○Yes ○No Do you feel military service should be required by all individuals? ○Yes ○No Do you feel there is a national advantage to government service? ○Yes ○No

Survey Group B Questions (Sample) Does conscription mean military service? ○Yes ○No Did you volunteer for government service? ○Yes ○No If you were required to perform two years mandatory government work, would you sign a contract to continue the job you were in? ○Yes ○No Would you feel comfortable working with employees who were required to work with you and may terminate their contract before you? ○Yes ○No Do you feel there is a national advantage to government service? ○Yes ○No

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Appendix B – Survey Results Group A Yes Question 1 76% Question 2 87% Question 3 62% Question 4 27% Question 5 93% Accurate within ± 2% Group B Yes Question 1 69% Question 2 89% Question 3 51% Question 4 64% Question 5 98% Accurate within ± 2% No 31% 11% 49% 36% 2% No 24% 13% 38% 73% 7%

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Appendix C – President Obama $789B Stimulus Plan5 Category Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy Energy Project Electricity Grid Renewable Energy Loans for Projects Renovate and repair federal buildings Grants for state and local governments Energy retrofits for lowincome housing Energy efficient and renewable energy research Loans for vehicle battery manufacturers Energy efficient grants and loans for schools, governments, and utilities Weatherizing homes Rebates for smart appliances Replace federal vehicles with alternative fuel cars Grant program for electric vehicle technology Projects for cleaning fossil fuels Department of defense research Assistance to state and local governments for alternative fuel busses Projects for energy efficient manufacturing processes Grants and loans to states and cities for diesel emissions reduction Amount ($) 11,000,000,000 8,000,000,000 6,700,000,000 6,900,000,000 2,500,000,000 2,000,000,000

Energy Energy

2,000,000,000 1,500,000,000

Energy Energy Energy Energy

6,200,000,000 300,000,000 600,000,000 200,000,000

Energy Energy Energy

2,400,000,000 350,000,000 400,000,000






"Obama's Stimulus Plan - the breakdown," Many Eyes, (accessed May 5, 2009).

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Science and Technology Science and Technology Science and Technology

Science and Technology Science and Technology Science and Technology Science and Technology Science and Technology

Science and Technology

Science and Technology

Science and Technology Science and Technology Business Business Business Business Science and Technology Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure

Wireless and broadband grants National Science Foundation National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research University Research Facilities Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Department of Energy NASA Biomedical Advanced Research and Development, Pandemic Flu and Cyber security National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellites and Sensors National Institute of Standards and Technology Agricultural Research Service U.S. Geological Survey Small Business Credit Rural BusinessCooperative Service Industrial Technology Services Economic Development Assistance DTV Conversion Highway infrastructure New transit construction Transit upgrades and repair Transit assistance to expand facilities Amtrak and Intercity rail grants Airport improvement grants Aviation explosive

6,000,000,000 3,000,000,000 2,000,000,000

1,500,000,000 462,000,000 1,900,000,000 600,000,000 900,000,000



209,000,000 200,000,000 430,000,000 100,000,000 100,000,000 250,000,000 650,000,000 30,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 2,000,000,000 6,000,000,000 1,100,000,000 3,000,000,000 500,000,000 Snyder 14 of 19

Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure

Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment Environment

detection systems Coast Guard bridges Improving Social Security Administration IT improvements for Farm Service Agency State Department Technology Repairs for Department of Agriculture Department of Defense medical facilities Military facility repairs Troop housing Department of Defense child development centers Guard and Reserve facilities Veterans medical facilities Veterans cemeteries Border ports of entry Job Corps facilities Public land and park construction National treasures Corps of engineers water restoration Bureau of reclamation Watershed infrastructure Repairs to flood control systems Clean Water State Revolving Fund Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Rural water and waste disposal loans Hazardous waste cleanup Leaking underground storage tanks cleanup Nuclear waste cleanup Cleanup and close

150,000,000 400,000,000 245,000,000 276,000,000 44,000,000 3,750,000,000 2,100,000,000 1,200,000,000 360,000,000

400,000,000 950,000,000 50,000,000 1,150,000,000 300,000,000 3,100,000,000 400,000,000 4,500,000,000 500,000,000 400,000,000 224,000,000 6,000,000,000 2,000,000,000 1,500,000,000 800,000,000 200,000,000 500,000,000 300,000,000

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Environment Environment Environment Environment Infrastructure Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Healthcare Healthcare Healthcare Healthcare Healthcare Healthcare Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs

military bases NOAA habitat restoration Grants to cleanup brown fields State and private wildfire prevention Federal Forest wildfire prevention Bureau of Indian Affairs School construction Education technology Pell grants College Work-Study Student Aid Administration IDEA special education Grants to help disadvantaged kids Statewide data systems Education for homeless children and youth Improving teacher quality Childcare for low-income families Head Start IDEA Infants and families Health information technology Prevention and wellness fund Healthcare effectiveness research Community health centers Training for primary care providers Indian health service facilities Training and employment services Vocational rehabilitation state grants Employment services grants Community service

400,000,000 100,000,000 550,000,000 300,000,000 500,000,000 20,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 15,600,000,000 490,000,000 50,000,000 13,000,000,000 13,000,000,000 250,000,000 66,000,000 300,000,000 2,000,000,000 2,100,000,000 600,000,000 20,000,000,000 3,000,000,000 1,100,000,000 1,500,000,000 600,000,000 550,000,000 4,000,000,000 500,000,000 500,000,000 120,000,000

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Jobs Housing Housing Housing Housing

Housing Housing Housing

Housing Housing Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs Social Programs

employment for seniors Increasing and expanding unemployment insurance COBRA for the unemployed Funding for public housing HOME Investments with local communities Native American housing grants Funds for communities to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed homes Homeless assistance grants Rural housing insurance fund Fund for rural, high-need sustainable building practices Lead paint removal from homes Rural community facilities Nutrition assistance to modest-income families Senior nutrition programs Afterschool meals Improving systems related to WIC Payments to disabled and elderly Community services grants Community development grants Emergency food and shelter Low-Income home energy assistance Child support enforcement Social security backlog Centers for independent


30,300,000,000 5,000,000,000 1,500,000,000 500,000,000 4,200,000,000

1,500,000,000 500,000,000 10,000,000

100,000,000 200,000,000 20,000,000,000 200,000,000 726,000,000 100,000,000 4,200,000,000 1,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 200,000,000 1,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 500,000,000 200,000,000 Snyder 17 of 19

Social Programs Social Programs

Social Programs Public Service Public Service Public Service Public Service Public Service

living AmeriCorps Grants to faith- and community-based organizations Department of Labor Worker Protection Medicaid Aid to states State Education Temporary Assistance for needy families State and local law enforcement support Periodic census and programs

200,000,000 100,000,000

80,000,000 87,000,000,000 120,000,000,000 2,500,000,000 4,000,000,000 1,000,000,000

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"Employment Situation Summary." United States Department of Labor. (accessed May 5, 2009). Freeman, Harrop A. "The Constitutionality of Peacetime Conscription." Virginia Law Review 31, no. 1 (December 1944): 40-82. (accessed May 5, 2009). Friedman, Leon. "Conscription and the Constitution: The Original Understanding." Michigan Law Review 67, no. 8 (June 1969): 1493-552. (accessed May 5, 2009). Hoague, Francis, Russell M. Brown, and Philip Marcus. "Wartime Conscription and Control of Labor." Harvard Law Review 54, no. 1 (November 1940): 50-104. (accessed May 5, 2009). Koch, Michael, and Scott S. Gartner. "Casualities and Constituencies: Democratic Accountability, Electoral Institutions, and Costly Conflicts." The Journal of Conflict Resolution 49, no. 6 (December 2005): 874-94. (accessed May 5, 2009). Merriam Webster. (accessed May 5, 2009). "Obama's Stimulus Plan - the breakdown." Many Eyes. (accessed May 5, 2009). Renshaw, Edward F. "The Economics of Conscription." Southern Economic Association 27, no. 2 (October 1960): 111-17. (accessed May 5, 2009). Vasquez, Joseph P. "Shouldering the Soldiering: Democracy, Conscription, and Military Casualities." The Journal of Conflict Resolution 49, no. 6 (December 2005): 84973. (accessed May 5, 2009).

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