Saturday, August 5, 2017

You can keep your draft

(x-posted from Da Tech Guy)

No, not the NFL draft...that one where we take people and put them in the military.  Well, most people anyway...


Dennis Laich seems to think bringing back the draft is a great idea, as he is quoted  saying so here in this Military Times article.  He argues that it will be cheaper (due to making pay cheaper), close the civil-military gap, and bring in talent from Ivy League and other places.  I'm in the military and live it every day, and I personally think the draft (and the current Selective Service) should go away completely.


You get what you pay for.  On the outside, you can pay conscripts less and plus up numbers, and you look like a more impressive fighting force.  A lot of people marching in uniforms with guns might look cool on the outside, but history is replete with smaller, better trained forces beating larger ones, from Alexander the Great to the US invasion of Iraq.  If you want better soldiers and sailors, you have to pay for them.  Training them is expensive, as is retaining them.  If you want someone with special technical skills, such as cyber warfare, you pay even more.  You won't keep these people in a draft-laden military because...

No one wants to deal with draftees.  Back in the day, we drafted people to work aboard nuclear submarines.  Smart people qualified on the reactor plant, but they didn't want to be there.  So to express their displeasure and try to get separated from the Navy, they would simply walk back and SCRAM the reactor by flipping a switch that dropped a set of control rods and shutdown the reactor.  Granted, our plants can recover from a SCRAM fairly quickly, but as you can imagine, that became a huge distraction.  Any good leader wants to work with motivated people.  Dealing with the unmotivated and the 9 to 5 clock punchers is one of the most frustrating parts of my day.  A draftee military will suck more good leaders time to dealing with that issue, and it won't address...

The civil-military divide doesn't matter.  I'll probably get hate mail for this, but it seriously doesn't.  While I do appreciate my military discount and occasional free meal, it's certainly not why I joined.  I simply don't expect most people to appreciate what I do or even understand it.  More importantly, I do my job so that the average American can sleep safely at night, and would prefer they not worry about waking up to a Red Dawn scenario.  I also travel in uniform and gladly talk to people about what I do, something too many service members don't do because...


Although some conversations end this way...
We the military make the divide harder.  It's true.  I saw someone once chastise a person for wishing them a Happy Memorial Day.  I get it, Memorial Day recognizes those that can't come home.  But our military members are often pretty hard on civilians.  We expect them to know our culture, forgetting that in boot camp or ROTC we once shared their cluelessness.  I prefer to be encouraging and instructing, rather than hating on people.  It's also not like they don't have challenges.  I meet great Americans that work two jobs and go to night school to make ends meet, and they are often my heroes.  And while some of my heroes are champions in industry...

Some really smart people would suck in the military.  It's not to say the military doesn't have smart people.  I'm often shocked at how bright so many of my young Sailors are.  But plenty of smart people at Google, Facebook, IBM, Raytheon and other companies do great there, but would be horrible in a military environment.  The military needs people that can straddle the line between thinking big strategy and managing the day-to-day human needs, where industry is often ok with people that are smart but have terrible people skills.

I'm not sold on the draft.  I think many have visions that it'll make the "nation better," but in reality our nation is pretty great.  If we need to focus, perhaps fixing our broken education system or getting people more physically active would be a better goal.

A final thought: calling for the draft isn't a true conservative thing...it's quite socialistic in origin.  Trying to start "universal national service" screams to me a universal jobs program.  I'd rather we let our young people excel to the best of their ability and have freedom to choose employment, freedoms that other young men and women sacrifice for everyday.

2 comments:

  1. I've read that the military can accept only about 30% of America's youth should they apply to join our craft. Most are eliminated for criminal convictions, ADHD, ADD, drugs, etc. A draft of the able would quickly find that an awful lot of young men would take the simpler option and just make themselves ineligible. This aint pop's military. We need people we can trust and not scum that think nothing of strolling aft and scramming the reactor.

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