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Cafe Society to discuss universal military training

By Staff | May 4, 2017

At its next session on Tuesday, May 2 the Cafe Society will discuss whether or not the U.S. should consider reinstituting universal military training in some form.

The post cold-war world is still a very dangerous place and an increasing number of nations have significant offensive military capability and the means to project it. At the same time we are faced with the asymmetrical threat of terrorism and have been frustrated in our efforts to suppress, if not contain it. While we continue to use diplomacy and economic sanctions, we still rely heavily on our demonstrable military prowess to deter threats to America or our far-flung interests around the world. Significant forces are still tied to commitments we have made since World War II. And modern warfare methods including use of drones and other forms of air power short of putting U.S. forces on the ground have not been fully effective. While our concentration of military prowess in our “all volunteer force” of military professionals still provides significant exploitation of modern warfare technology, the open question remains if it will be enough. This would be particularly true if we suddenly found ourselves simultaneously engaged in more than one regional conflict. We are close to that now in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula.

These informal discussions are held every Tuesday morning from 8:30-10 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center. There are no fees and registration is not required.

Facilitator Mike Austin stated: “Since taking office President Trump has made a point of asserting our military prowess and seeking, rather than avoiding confrontation. Diplomatic machinery has been sidelined and traditional means of gaining leverage through humanitarian efforts downplayed. While he has given priority to increasing the defense budget, it will take considerable time to rebuild sustainable capability and not end up creating a hollow force. The old malady of ignoring a viable ‘tooth to tail’ ration is hard to avoid. So it may be advisable to reconsider what options we have to rebuild a sustainable and flexible reserve of trained military personnel that could be activated when needed. We saw the repercussions of the poorly managed draft that provided the manpower to tenaciously pursue our unproductive efforts in Vietnam. President Trumps ‘progressive’ political posture would make it extremely difficult to resort to hasty mobilization again that appeared to draw heavily on an underclass that did not have the means to avoid military service. So the question is: ‘What would an equitable and politically feasible system of national service look like and how could it be constructively implemented?’

There are many (including people who did serve a minimum period of active duty) who benefited and gained self-confidence, and access to opportunities that would have otherwise been out of reach. In many cases the professional skills, personal growth and maturity gained in several years of military service far outweigh a commensurate period of time on our college campuses. There are many aspects to consider. It should prove to be a good discussion.”