Could the U.S. military bring back the draft after 50 years?
On January 27th 1973, Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird announced the end of the military draft, following the end of the Vietnam war. But could the U.S. bring back a limited draft to help in the war between Russia and Ukraine?
In a recent opinion piece on military.com, Joe Plenzler, a retired combat decorated Marine lieutenant colonel who served as the strategic advisor for communication to three successive Commandants of the Marine Corps from 2010 to 2015, suggested that the all-volunteer force has reached a “breaking point” and that “the fastest and most effective way to resolve this recruiting crisis is to change how we recruit.”
Plenzler solution is to have the military recruite new troops for 11 months out of the year, and then have the Selective Service draft the rest to meet the military’s needs.
Plenzler didn’t mention Ukraine in his article, but could the U.S. bring back the draft if the U.S. did put boots on the ground in Ukraine, considering our military is already stretched thing following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and recruitment issues?
On July 13th, President Biden ordered 3,000 reservists to be ready for Europe deployments. This has been activated several times in the past 75 years, usually preceding war, signaling that the U.S. involvement with Ukraine may be about to expand.
President Harry Truman called up 938,379 reservists during the Korean War.
President John Kennedy called up 155,800 reservists during the Berlin Crisis of 1961
President Kennedy also called up 14,200 members of the Air Force Reserve during the Cuban missile crisis.
President Johnson called up 35,280 reservists after the Tet offensive in Vietnam.
President George H. W. Bush activated IRR troops in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm.
President Bill Clinton activated 33,102 reservists for the Kosovo conflict.
President George W. Bush activated reservists following the 9/11 attacks.
President George W. Bush again activated reservists to support Operation Enduring Freedom.