The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

In the United States, national service ought to be compulsory.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/3/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 4,852 times Debate No: 102374
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I will be arguing the For, in this debate. That national service should be compulsory. To begin I will clarify a few definitions.

National Service: "a period of compulsory service in the armed forces of some countries during peacetime."

Compulsory: "required by law or a rule; obligatory."


I appreciate your providing of definitions, and though they are source-less, I still know they are correct.

I completely understand the Pro side of the argument on this topic. Pro believes that by making a period of national service compulsory, we can improve our military and improve the overall force of the United States.
Growth in strength and numbers is most certainly what the United States needs, but as Con I am obliged to tell you that compulsory national service is not the way to accomplish that.

Compulsory national service is simple: Everyone has to join a branch of the military for a certain period of time. Depending on the country/state you reside in, there may or may not be exceptions to this service, but for the purpose of maintaining to the definition of national service, let's assume that there would be no exceptions in this situation.

Most people would think that this would strengthen our military, having more people join every year. While it would indeed increase the numbers of the United States military force, it would devalue almost every other factor that has the current United States Military as great as it is today.
Why is this?
Enforcing that EVERY citizen (assuming that there's no possible way to track down illegal immigrants, tourists, and international business people) in the United States must serve a period of time in the military would decrease the quality of not only the military service our soldiers receive, but also the quality of those soldiers joining.
The current United States Military requires those joining to take the ASVAB Test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). This test measures the intelligence of joining military members and overall decides their abilities within the military. This test can be retaken one month after the original test date if the test-taker wishes to receive a higher score. (Source:

While the ASVAB test is used throughout all of the military, there are also certain tests throughout the different branches as well. An example of this is the Army's APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test). The APFT requires all joining Army members to test in different physical categories, including: push-ups, sit-ups, running, etc. Each Army members is required to at least score a 50 on this test to graduate Boot Camp and start Infantry Training. Until the member scores a 50, they will be stuck in Boot Camp.

A simple solution to that would be: "Well let's just take this disabled and place them into another branch!" But sadly, that will not solve the problem.
The Marine Corps has a test very similar to the APFT, called the USMC PFT (United States Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test) and also requires members to pass each category (with many more categories than the Army requires) before they can advance further into training.

The Navy requires a physical fitness test as well, titled the NPFA (Navy Physical Fitness Assessment). This assessment involves several screenings of each member, in addition to the majority of the physical activities involved in the other branches' testings. This test requires members to test on stationary bikes, running, and more.

And finally, the Air Force. The Air Force's test, the AF BMT PFT (Air Force Basic Military Training Physical Fitness Test). This test requires members to run both 1.5 and 2.0 miles, in addition to pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. to graduate basic Boot Camp and advance into Air Force training.

So what do all of these physical tests (and addition of one intelligence test) that I've provided to you have to do with anything?
Well by requiring every citizen of the United States to serve in the military, we can assume that not exactly 100% of the population is going to pass these tests. By abolishing these tests, we are allowing our military to be weakened by veterans that can't run half a mile or that could suffer an asthma attack during combat. But also by enforcing these tests, we can allow people to be "exceptions" to the test. Those who are unfit for military service wouldn't have to join, and this would encourage groups of people to purposefully join themselves into that category.
It's a lose-lose situation here. By making military service compulsory, we are either allowing our military to be devalued by those who have mental and physical issues, or we are allowing people to categorize themselves as "unfit" for military service, and we lose the strength in numbers that this whole plan was created for.
Which would you rather have?

Outside of medical issues, there are certainly people who do not have time in their lives for military service.
This does not mean that they are dishonoring the United States. I understand that people have other things to do, and I plan to join the Army once I graduate.
Whether for religious reasons, educational reasons, or family reasons, you can't expect every citizen to work for Uncle Sam for a period of time, it is unrealistic.
I'm sure you understand this yourself to an extent, as you are a college student, at the age of 21. You have education that you have to get. You have a family you would like to spend time with, and it is entirely possible that you could have a medical condition that would influence your military service.

While we could force every citizen to participate in our national military, it would devalue our service, as I have provided, as well as weaken the United States' military quality. It would be great to have strength in numbers, but forcing our people to join is not the way to achieve that. Instead of forcing everyone, able or not, to join the military, we should encourage people to join. We can do this with military advertisements, additional rewarding to those who are service members, create schools that can only be attended by service members, etc.
This way we could increase the numbers of our military, and still limit it to the people who can pass intelligence and physical tests.

This is all reason to vote Con.
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by RR-MKIV 1 year ago
You could go a step further and pull a star ship troopers [The novel of course]. Make national service the venue through which voting rights and other citizen privileges are earned. This service could be delayed for the pursuit of a higher education and so on. If you choose to opt out, you simply have fewer privileges than those who honorably served, be it military or another service.
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