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
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.
"No Justification for a
by Tim Kane,
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 http://www.heritage.org/Research/HomelandDefense/wm126
Central to the Left's Worldview"
by Tim Kane,
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.
"Who Bears the
Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S.
Military Recruits Before and After 9/11"
by Tim Kane,
Center for Data
Analysis Report #05-08
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
"The Demographics of
Military Enlistment After 9/11"
by Tim Kane,
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."
"Shutting Out The
by James Jay
July 8, 2004
inconceivable that anyone could suggest that America abandon a
winning formula. But that, in effect, is what advocates of a new
draft are suggesting.
"Draft Reinstatement Is a Bad
by James Jay
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.
Event: "Bearing the Burden: Military
Volunteers and the Case
Against the Draft"
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 http://www.heritage.org/Press/Events/ev110705a.cfm
"No Atheists in a Foxhole? No
by Tim Kane, Ph.D.
and Mackenzie Eaglen
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