John Stuart Mill once said, “A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” The controversial debate of mandatory military service, in recent years, has begun to receive an increase of attention. With the growing occurrence of political disagreement among nations, the increased need for a larger, stronger armed forces is becoming a necessity to many countries around the world.
A strong military takes precedence over other significant priorities any country may have because this is the country’s backbone and defense. Most citizens would agree that a strong military is a key component to a successful nation. Citizens support and stand behind their country’s decisions in regards to their military, subsequently, some show their support by joining the military while others do not. Controversially, some countries mandate that citizens serve in their respective military with no choice in the matter. Countless citizens of nations across the globe, do not agree that military service should be required.
A total of twenty-six countries enforce mandatory military service of their citizens because of conflicts with neighboring countries; also, some countries have an urgent sense of need to have large numbers of reserves on standby. However, the majority of countries that require military service of its citizens, only require men to serve in the military. In spite of the archaic belief of only men belong in the military, there are a few countries, for example, Israel, who require both men and women to serve in their country’s military (Omondi). Some countries require that their citizens serve as little as one year to twenty-four months while others require up to four years.
Conscription, mandatory military service, is the approach countries adopted to build and sustain larger militaries. A large military has a greater number of soldiers that are available to be deployed in the event of war, and having a large military, helps protect the government should a fraction rises against the nation. In this way, it promotes national unity. National unity uses the shared familiarity of operating in the military to create a lasting bond of its citizens that train and serve in their country’s military. Mandatory service gives the people, who have been mentally and medically cleared, a sense of sacrifice, especially, the sacrifice that they and other people had to make for their country. This, again, brings the people together in unison and creates national unity giving them a sense of patriotism. The power of communal service fosters a sense of solidarity within their country. Without this, a nation is more susceptible to internal struggels, and less resilient in the face of external threats, be they political, environmental or otherwise (Mohammed).
Mandatory service holds an active military force, meaning that the country’s military has a large active reserve that is ready to respond, quickly and effectively, to a threat to national security (Ayres). This gives an added layer of protection to the nation. While the improbability of a country invading any other country and taking over is small, the invading armies would double think invading, especially if the military reserve was large. Although, there is a con to this. Many nations, for example, North Korea and Israel, have spent a large chunk of their national budget on training and weapons (Omondi); however, compulsory military brings those enlisted with different skillsets, as well as, different learning backgrounds.
This type of service guarantees high levels of governmental participation, and when the occasion calls for it, the public will be more aware and watchful of government decisions (Omondi). The public would be more in control and watchful of state security and who their country is making alliances with. A country’s nationals would be more apt to understand the pressures that their country faces, and it will positively affect how involved citizens are in the government. It benefits the citizens of any given country who chooses mandatory service because countries could offer citizens serve free college education and free medical for life, for the service member and family. This gives citizens more of a positive reason to support mandatory military service.
The most beneficial element, for both the country and its countrymen, is the skills they gain and learn; a country would call those in service, sporadically, for brief retraining courses (Gregorio). The training that the military would provide goes beyond that of what the public thinks is typical. The military prepares citizens for their career they are given in the military, so well that it goes beyond what is needed to get the job completed; however, those who finish their service time in the military, usually, pursue the same or similar career in the civilian sector. The education and training that is gained while in the military helps citizens in their career in the civilian sector and usually gives them an advantage. Important qualities carried over to civilian life are “teamwork, responsibility, initiative, stress management, diversity, and global awareness” (Ayres).
Some countries require that their citizens serve in the military, and a fair amount of them have law that it is required to serve and can only be avoided through mental or physical abnormalities. Countries can require either a short amount of time served to a fairly length amount. There are many benefits of citizens serving their nation. It brings a nation’s citizens together to form a patriotism that only those who have served would understand.
Military branches would not have to worry if their recruitment percentages are high or low because new troops would be filtered in as needed. There are huge gaps in the middle of what the government is doing and what the citizens understand; mandatory military service can close that gap. It gives citizens a closer understanding and realization of why the government is doing what it does. Many citizens come to support its country’s decision due the added protection it gives citizens. A country mandating its military service can be judged with many completely misunderstanding how useful and purposeful it truly is.