“A successful life, by definition includes service to others” (The Bush School of Government and Public Service, 2013). For centuries the idea of serving one’s nation has been known as a noble calling. While several countries have utilized a compulsory military and/or public service obligation, the United States of America has maintained the notion that one should feel called / led to serve. Outside of the Selected Service, the U.S. has maintained an All-Volunteer Force. With the continued pressures from the decade long war(s) one could argue that the United States adopts a compulsory public service obligation.
History of the United States Selective Service System (SSS)
The draft first came into effect during the Civil War where both the North and South utilized a draft system to enlist Soldiers. “The invasion on liberty was not well received with widespread and violent resistance, especially in the North” (Pauwels, 2013). The draft closed soon after the Civil War was over and reopened for World War I, once again closing upon the war’s end. The first peace-time draft was utilized in 1940 as World War II loomed over the horizon. While often referred to as a “peace-time” draft, most believe it is better defined as a “pre-war” draft. For a short period of time (1975-1980), the draft remained in effect until the end of the Vietnam War (Pauwels, 2013). The requirement to register for the SSS was suspended. President Carter reinstated the registration requirement in 1980. Still in effect today, all males must register for the SSS once they reach the age of 18 (Pauwels, 2013).
The Selected Service System (SSS) is “an active partner in the national preparedness community that anticipates and responds to the changing needs of the Nation” (Selective Service System, 2012). “Just one-half of one percent of Americans served in uniform at an give time during the past decade – the longest period of sustained conflict in the country’s history. Meanwhile as the military shrinks in size, the connections between military members and the broader civilian population appear to be growing more distant” (Miles, 2011). “75 percent of americans aged 17 to 24 cannot join the United States Military –26 million young Americans” (Mission Readiness, 2009, 1).
Examples of Compulsory Military Service
President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilan Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933 as part of the New Deal. The CCC had a dual purpose: “putting people back to work to combat the Great Depression and preserving America’s natural resources” (Prauwels, 2013). CCC is known as “the most successful and least controversial example of the federal government mobilizing a large portion of the population to perform nonmilitary service” (Prauwels, 2013). CCC was combined programs from the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Labor and War to serve in needed programs around the country (Prauwels, 2013). Young men were targeted for this service and nearly...