November 29, 2006

November 29, 2006 | WebMemo on Department of Homeland Security

The Case Against the Draft: The Heritage Foundation's Research

For over three decades, volunteers have filled the ranks of the U.S. military, and this all-volunteer force has served the nation well. Some lawmakers, however, want to reinstate the draft. Yet the arguments in favor of a draft are not well grounded logically, empirically, or even philosophically. The persistent and widespread myth that poor, less-educated minorities are overrepresented in the enlisted ranks is simply untrue.


Over the last few years, analysts at The Heritage Foundation have written and spoken repeatedly against the draft. It is our belief that personal liberty in this issue is paramount and that a military force based on volunteers is superior to any other. Here are summaries of several Heritage papers addressing this topic:


"Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S.
Military Enlistment, 2003-2005
By Tim Kane, Ph.D.
Center for Data Analysis Report #06-09

October 27, 2006

This major demographic study of wartime recruits is 16 pages long and has been one of the most heavily cited and downloaded Heritage papers ever. It concludes: [T]he additional years of recruit data (2004-2005) sup­port the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight dif­ferences are that wartime U.S. mil­itary enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and from more rural areas on aver­age than their civilian peers. A draft is not necessary to increase the size of the active-duty forces. Our analysis using Pentagon data on wartime volunteers effectively shatters the case for reinstating the draft.
Available at


"No Justification for a Military Draft"

by Tim Kane, Ph.D.

WebMemo #1263

November 28, 2006


Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), soon to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has announced his intention to reinstate the draft. He has offered three different justifications for the reversion to conscription after 33 years of an all-volunteer force: social justice, peace, and better troops. However, our studies show that none of these are valid arguments.

Available at


"Stupid Soldiers: Central to the Left's Worldview"

by Tim Kane, Ph.D.

WebMemo #1244

November 3, 2006


Although rarely expressed so boldly, liberals' beliefs that young soldiers are kids, not adults, and victims instead of volunteers has been apparent for decades. Rather than acknowledge that the hundreds of thousands of American adults who enlist are intelligent, and intelligently choose to serve as warriors, the Left has repeatedly characterized the uniformed service as a burden foisted on the less fortunate and less intelligent.

Available at


"Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S.
Military Recruits Before and After 9/11

by Tim Kane, Ph.D.

Center for Data Analysis Report #05-08

November 7, 2005


The current makeup of the all-vol­untary military looks like America. Where they are different, the data show that the average sol­dier is slightly better educated and comes from a slightly wealthier, more rural area. The military (and Army specifically) includes a higher proportion of blacks and lower propor­tions of other minorities but a proportionate num­ber of whites. More important, recruiting is not drawing disproportionately from racially concentrated areas.

Available at


"The Demographics of Military Enlistment After 9/11"

by Tim Kane, Ph.D.

Executive Memorandum #987

November 3, 2005


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a study detailing the demograph­ics of the U.S. military. The study was undertaken in response to a request by Representative Charles Ran­gel (D-NY), who in December 2002 claimed that "[a] disproportionate number of the poor and mem­bers of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent."

Available at


"Shutting Out The Draft"

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

July 8, 2004


It is inconceivable that anyone could suggest that America abandon a winning formula. But that, in effect, is what advocates of a new draft are suggesting.

Available at


"Draft Reinstatement Is a Bad Idea"

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

May 3, 2004


All the men and women of today's military volunteered to serve. They swore an oath to put aside their personal aspirations and obligations for the service of all Americans. But some politicians argue that these volunteers are victims, and legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress that would resume military conscription for the first time since the Vietnam era.

Available at


Event: "Bearing the Burden: Military Volunteers and the Case
Against the Draft

November 7, 2005


Contrary to claims that the U.S. military recruits are disproportionately poor, black, and urban in origin-justifying a reinstatement of the draft-a comprehensive new study of all U.S. military enlistees in 1999 and 2003 reveals exactly the opposite. Indeed, the proportion of recruits from rich neighborhoods exceeds that from poor neighborhoods. Dr. Tim Kane of The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis forcefully dispels the myth of the underprivileged soldier and provides surprising evidence of how demographics of the all-volunteer military actually changed after 9/11. Join us as our panelists examine the characteristics of recruits including education, race, income, and region, to clarify just who among us is bearing the burden in the defense of our nation.

Available at


"No Atheists in a Foxhole? No Idiots, Either"

by Tim Kane, Ph.D. and Mackenzie Eaglen

November 9, 2006

A study we conducted of the recruiting classes for all military branches in 1999 and from 2003 through 2005 puts the lie to the crass assumption that the United States is fielding a low-quality military. A common misperception is that the ranks are increasingly filled with relatively uneducated young men and women from low-income households. Yet this myth doesn't hold up under inspection.

Available at

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