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Draftees are trainee soldiers conscripted into military service.

Assessment of draftees[edit | edit source]

Training of draftees[edit | edit source]

Draftees compared to regular recruits[edit | edit source]

Conscript quality[edit | edit source]

The manpower quality of a conscript force is considered poor in many countries[How to reference and link to summary or text] and conversely, governments are reluctant to invest in professional-quality training of conscripts, giving poor-quality forces. However, in some countries with conscription, the personnel diversity of the conscript force is considered its greatest strength.[1] Admittedly, there are persons who would not be employed by a professional force, but these are a minority and can be discharged for medical reasons in extreme cases.[original research?]

However, the conscript force may also receive the best of the youth, who would never join a professional army. Many conscripts are from such social strata that they would have much more lucrative employment or would be studying, were they not obliged to serve. These persons provide talented manpower that can easily be trained for technical and leadership duties. As junior NCO and commissioned officer positions are filled with leadership-trained conscripts, the size and cost of the professional cadre is much smaller.[1] As these ex-conscripts, as reservists, mature and lose their fighting fitness, they can be subsequently retrained and given emergency positions corresponding their civilian expertise. For example, a transport manager who is a reserve officer might serve as a battalion logistics chief during wartime.[2][3] The leadership-trained conscripts can also be recruited to the regular forces. The vast improvement of the Egyptian Army in between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War has been attributed to the decision to conscript college graduates who were previously exempt.

In wartime especially in a lengthy war like World War II, the differences between conscripts and professionals may disappear over time, during war, commanders look the combat experience of to a soldiers and units as an indication of quality, and a conscript who has seen action will be far more valuable to his/its superiors than a green professional.

The worst problem is that the training must be designed by the physical fitness and the learning ability of the least able of the youth.[How to reference and link to summary or text] However, this can be at least partly avoided by differentiating the conscript training. Even the least able can usually fulfill important roles in relatively easy logistics duties, while the most able can be trained quite well as specialists.[4] In many cases, the conscript servicemates may have social or societal problems, they may be criminals, bullies or drug abusers, or they may even be sociopaths. Allowing such persons to serve is problematic. They may corrode the capability of the unit, even endangering the safety of the others. Some countries have recognized this problem, and attempt to exclude the potential troublemakers even before they get to serve, using medical discharges, for example.[5] On the other hand, in some countries (like in Russia) the problems with this issue are extremely dire (see dedovschina). There is also the argument that if the problem can be classified as juvenile delinquency, then the military functions as a "men's school".[How to reference and link to summary or text] By giving responsibility, youth development is induced, and adolescent-typical criminal behavior ceases.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The problem is that the coercion type environment of conscription armies encourage avoidance of responsibility, rather than accepting it, being more likely to promote such antisocial behaviour than to discourage it.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

References[edit | edit source]

Discipline problems[edit | edit source]

No military can operate effectively without discipline. Discipline can either be taught from esprit de corps, already-acquired motivation of the personnel or be fundamentally embedded into the troops through guidance from leadership. One can speculate[original research?]

that volunteers manifest less undisciplined behavior, however citizens conscripted might have little motivation to serve. As motivation is based on coercion, the corrective action imposed upon undisciplined conscriptees is often harsh[How to reference and link to summary or text]. Capital punishment, usually by firing squad, was used almost universally to maintain discipline in conscript militaries during wartime.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Antony Beevor has estimated the executions covered some 1% to 5% of all conscript losses in World War II.[How to reference and link to summary or text] This can be best summarized by a statement from Leon Trotsky:
An army cannot be built without reprisals. Masses of men cannot be led to death unless the command has the death penalty in its arsenal. So long as those malicious tailless apes that are so proud of their technical achievements — the animals that we call men — will build armies and wage wars, the command will always be obliged to place the soldiers between the possible death in the front and the inevitable one in the rear.

Consequently, conscript armies are more likely to mutiny than all-volunteer forces, and can in extreme cases turn against their own (see fragging).[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Discipline problems become much worse when the ablest of the youth are forced to serve against their will under the authority of people they consider less intelligent, untalented, or simply because of unquestioned authority.[How to reference and link to summary or text] This was seldom a problem in the period of Industrialism when only the upper classes had access to higher education, but proved problematic in the Vietnam War, when college students were conscripted to fight under non-commissioned officers, many of whom had not finished high school and few of whom had any higher education.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Quality[edit | edit source]

One of the objections raised[attribution needed] is that a conscript force would be of lower quality than a volunteer army. First, short periods of service do not allow for much skill building. Second, there is a possibility of a morale drop in units with conscripts, leading to a reduction in quality as officers and NCOs work to alleviate those problems.

The biggest problem is that the pace of training has to be adjusted to the level of the lowest quality candidate. Combined with the short tour of duty, this renders the skills of the conscripts very low[original research?]

. Therefore the elite units of all armies which have conscription, are composed entirely of selected volunteers, such as Parachute Rangers in the Finnish army.

Likewise, the military training of the conscripts is almost universally very rudimentary. It seldom goes beyond drill, shooting practice, rudimentary specialization on one's service branch and weapons and basic battlefield training.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Likewise, many nations have used conscripts simply as indentured, low-cost work force, organized as "work battalions" for agriculture and building infrastructure instead of decent military service.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

See also[edit | edit source]

categoryEnlisted military personnel

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