Every now and then there is a rash of posts that get shared on social media claiming something along the lines of 'if everyone on the dole* had to do a year of mandatory service in the military it would sort this country out'.
There are some people who aren't physically or mentally suited to being in the military, even a watered down version of the military.
Outside of that here are some other reasons this a terrible idea.
- The military does not want a whole bunch of unmotivated, resentful people being pushed into their training program and bloating out their structure.The military devotes time and effort to providing physical training, medical care, education and a career path to their members.
If you suddenly add the entire able-bodied, age-appropriate chunk of Australia's unemployed to that equation you are going to have to pull military members from their career and from deployments in order to have enough instructors.
You are going to have to build more barracks and devote more money to training facilities, medical care, educational materials and food.
I can guarantee you that all that shit will cost more than providing the dole and while it may temporarily stimulate the economy it is not necessarily going to 'pay for itself' through its end product.
This is because...
- Joining the military does not mean that you automatically become an ambitious, organised, self-starter who gets up and at 'em.
I have worked as a civilian amongst military personnel.
There are plenty of people who are lazy, incompetent, bad at their job and happy to be shuffled from posting to posting as fate dictates because they love other people making decisions for them. These people aren't interested in serving their country or being efficient or even being pleasant to be around, they are a bunch of see you next tuesdays who like passing the buck and being paid regularly.
There are also plenty of upwardly mobile, intelligent and decent people but for the most part they were that way before they entered the military, entering the military does not guarantee this as an outcome. And you have to keep in mind...
- There are some people who should not be trained to handle weapons, organise the movement of materiel, or have a good grasp of tactics.Because when you set them loose on the world after you've filled their heads with all this useful information they will use it to be as dodgy as shit.
Some people will use a year or so of national service to turn their lives around, others have no interest in turning so much as turbo-charging their current behaviour.
So if you have a mandatory system that still has to exclude people who don't meet the physical requirements or pass the mental assessments what do you do with these people?
Since you're red hot on making people earn their way but not that interested in building work programs or job accessibility for people with mental or physical challenges in their lives?
The Australian rate of unemployment was about 6% last I remember hearing.
What percentage of that percentage would be suitable for even token military service?
How much would that cost?
How much would it benefit these people and the economy as a whole after they've finished?
Some people may very well decide to go career military or stay in until they had more training that would see them qualified and well set up to get a job on civvy street.
Others would be getting out of there as fast as they could.
Mandatory National Service isn't a magic pill that will cure our societal ills, I have no idea why people keep insisting it is.
*Slang term for Australia's unemployment/welfare payments system.