Despite Controversies, We Need to Encourage Voluntary Military Service

COMMENTARY Defense

Despite Controversies, We Need to Encourage Voluntary Military Service

Jul 6th, 2021 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
James Jay Carafano

Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute

James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges.
U.S. Military Academy cadets attend the 2020 graduation ceremony at West Point, New York, on June 13, 2020. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Voluntary military service has never been more important to keeping American democracy alive and well.

Despite the shortcomings of our political leaders, the armed forces remain our most respected, patriotic, and rooted institutions.

Parents can take practical steps to promote and encourage young people to be healthy, successful, and patriotic.

Just in time for July Fourth, The Heritage Foundation released a citizen’s guide that encourages youth to consider serving in America’s armed forces.

Voluntary military service has never been more important to keeping American democracy alive and well. It safeguards all Americans’ freedom, liberty, and prosperity.

Parents might wonder, particularly now, if the U.S. military will remain an honorable, values-based institution rooted in a sense of mission and selfless service, the kind of organization they would entrust their children.

Of late, the Pentagon has been rocked by ill-considered trans-gendered policies to fatuous claims that white supremacists riddle military ranks to enforcing radical race-theory training in the military.

The Biden administration appears intent on using the military as a political weapon to radically transform society rather than as an instrument of common defense. Further, our senior military leaders seem incapable of keeping radical politics out of the Pentagon.

Politics and the military do not mix well. The failures of present and political leadership, however, will not prevail. Despite the shortcomings of our political leaders, the armed forces remain our most respected, patriotic, and rooted institutions. To keep them healthy, we must replenish their ranks with young men and women committed to selfless service.

Promoting the value of selfless military service is more important than ever. Upward of 70% of American youth are not qualified for the military. They do not have high school diplomas, are not physically fit, and have health conditions and criminal records. That is appalling, not just for our military, but for our society.

We need to raise our kids better and give them worthwhile goals, like the privilege of defending all Americans’ freedom. We should encourage the “success sequence” that includes education, jobs, and family. Military service could be a link in that chain.

Inspiring the next generation is the only way to secure America’s future. The draft never really served America well. The solution is to prepare youth by encouraging volunteer service.

Parents can take practical steps to promote and encourage young people to be healthy, successful, and patriotic. The citizen’s guide outlines leadership roles parents can play in their families and communities.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal.