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Nov 19 2008




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We Can't Afford a Volunteer Army

By Kelly Thomas



The editorial, A Military for a Dangerous New World, in Sunday's New York Times is "right on." I see one gigantic caveat: we simply cannot afford a Volunteer Army with the size and mobility to fight present and future wars. Add more troops? From where?

Our government is paying huge bonuses to retain soldiers with critical skills with no end in sight. And, while the current economy is probably going to help recruiting, building up and retaining forces to the neccesary levels is going to be difficult, if not impossible.

As I have written over and over and over, we have yet to face the fact that we have to return to some system like the draft. My suggestion of community service still stands. Youngsters between the ages of eighteen to twenty-six would have a choice of a myriad of possibilities such as Teach America or Habitat for Humanity or they could design their own.

If we had some sort of conscription into community service where all would serve(allserve), in some capacity, I believe enough would feel challenged and sign up for military service, thus maintaining the size of the armed forces.

We would always need a military cadre and specialized soldiers, but intially, foot soldiers would fill the ranks to fullfill their community service. This could be modeled on a combination of the Israeli, South Korean, and even German approach. We could make this work. We are smart people and our plan should be long range.
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