Our current administration is proposing a major shift in the configuration of our military and its strategy. The major difference is an abandonment of the “two wars at the same time” strategy where we had the capability to fight two separate wars in two hemispheres at the same time. Along with this, they are proposing a drastic reduction in the size of our military with a decrease of about a half million service members.
I have a suggestion, if this is to still provide us with a reasonable degree of security. One danger of reducing the size of the military by this much is the ability to rapidly ramp up strength in case of an emergency. It takes time to train troops, time we might not have in a real emergency. It takes about 10 weeks just to get troops through the induction and basic training phases, let alone start teaching them the skill required for their specialty. Some of these specialties are quite technical and can take anywhere from 8 weeks to a year of training. What I would propose is this:
- Reinstate the draft.
- Inductees are given basic training and training in their selected specialty.
- They are then released back into the general economy with this training.
- This pool of people are placed in an inactive reserve status for a total of six years from the date of their induction.
- After six years, they are placed on a secondary status for call up only after the primary call of the current 6-year reserves is exhausted. They remain in this status until 20 years from their initial induction with a refresher at 10 years.
This does several things. First it reduces the amount of time required to field service members in case of a national emergency. Secondly, it produces people with some basic skills that can put those skills to use in the economy. For example, civil engineering skills could be put to use in the construction industry and the same would go for transportation, maintenance, and highly technical skills. Thirdly, it allows screening of a larger cross-section of the population so that those with exceptional skills could be retained in the active military if they so desire.
The point is, the military serves the economy by producing a stream of trained people in many different skills beyond “trigger pulling”. This is a valuable vocational training opportunity that we shouldn’t lose. In addition, we would need to find a way to reduce the amount of time required to ramp up a force should we face an emergency and this addresses that challenge, as well.