Cover: A National Service Draft?

A National Service Draft?

Published 1977

by Richard V.L. Cooper


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback29 pages $20.00

Explores motivations for and implications of compulsory national service draft in which all young men (and possibly young women) would have an obligation to serve their country, either in the military or nonmilitary activities. Proponents argue that this would encourage a "sense of commitment" among the nation's youth and would help alleviate high youth unemployment. This paper shows that the volunteer force has worked and can probably continue for the remainder of this century. Thus a draft is not needed to staff the armed forces. Some problems might be associated with such a policy: (1) equity problems in distributing individuals between military and nonmilitary service, (2) economic dislocations caused by such a policy, (3) the $25-50 billion costs, (4) ethical problems in using coercion to allocate labor resources in a free society, and (5) the constitutionality of a national service draft. There are better means for dealing with the issues raised during the debate about a national service draft.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.