I believe, from the bottom of my heart and throughout my soul, that every person in this country who is physically and emotionally able should be obligated to do mandatory national service. I am not, however, saying that everyone should be a soldier.
In my vision, every 18 year old who is able would go to boot camp in one of the various military boot camps. If they want to be in the military, then they go to the boot camp for the service they will join. If not, they go to which ever boot camp they are assigned.
For those who choose alternative service, it could be with the Conservation Corps, the Peace Corps, Americorps, etc. In any of these settings, they would still be subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) – if they do something wrong, they go to “Mast,” “Office hours” or whatever your service calls it.
Most young people these days have no sense of personal responsibility, no sense of honor, and very poor work ethics. I think that mandatory service with the UCMJ around would allow these young people to learn responsibility, ethics and values, while gaining life skills.
After their minimum tour, if completed with honor, these young adults would then be given a form of the GI Bill, with value dependent on the type of service that they did. This would then aid them in developing their education and skills further to become productive young adults.
Our country currently has the silly requirement for boys to register for the selective service, but not girls – this means that if we had to have a draft under the current system, no women would be called up – only men. This hardly makes sense in this Post-Modern world of equal rights. I strongly believe that Equal Rights must come with Equal Responsibility.
Think of the positive effects this would have on the under served in our country – minorities, poor people in ghettos, etc. This would give them the chance they need to make something out of their lives.
I would also include children of illegal immigrants here. After their service (only if completed honorably), they could apply for citizenship if they so desire. If they fail to complete their obligation honorably, then I believe they should be deported.
This plan would cost a lot of money of course, but in the long run, it would save a tremendous amount of money by giving these troubled young people a way to grow up and learn to work honestly. Their GI Bill benefits would allow them to then choose a career to go to, with proper training or education. This could possible reduce ghetto problems dramatically as well.