Volunteer service preferred over draft

Dec. 24, 2006 at 8:41 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- President Bush's call to increase U.S. Army and Marine Corps numbers could be met through volunteers not reinstating a draft, military leaders said.

While Bush gave no specific number, the call for a troop increase was hailed by military leaders, the Los Angeles Times said Sunday. Some said raising incentives and adding recruiters, among other things, should translate to an additional 10,000 a year in the current all-volunteer system, which would cost at least an extra $1.2 billion annually.

Even though the unpopularity of the the Iraqi war makes recruiting difficult, officials said volunteerism is better because those who enlist want to be in the military, which is preferable to forcing enlistment through a draft.

After missing 2005 recruiting goals, the Army increased incentives and instituted a new marketing campaign. The 2006 recruiting season, which ended in October, saw the Army pull in 80,635 recruits, exceeding its 80,000 goal.

However, Charles Moskos, a military sociologist and Northwestern University professor emeritus, said a volunteer military draws disproportionately from the working class.

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, proposed reinstating the draft, in part to address disparity concerns.

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