National service is when a country drafts people into their armed forces during peace time. It is compulsory in many nations for young people to have to complete a period of military service. Dozens of countries around the world have national service. In countries that don’t, such as the United States, UK, Germany and Italy, a debate is often had about introducing it. But why is national service actually important? Let us explain…
1. National Service Can Bolster A Country’s Defences
A first reason why national service is important is because it increases the size of a country’s defence forces.
National service means that citizens of a country must complete a compulsory period of time in the military. This can range from a couple of months to several years.
Almost all countries that have national service it is only men who must attend. However, in some countries, such as Israel, both men and women must complete time in the military. National service is often done between the ages of 18 and 30. In some countries all young people must do national service, in others only those who do not attend university must complete military service.
When young people complete national service, they receive military training. National service can be important for a country because it increases the numbers in their armed forces. It also ensures large parts of their population are able to fight if a war should come.
Most countries that have national service require citizens to attend refresher trainings up until a certain age. This means that large parts of their populations remain able to be drafted back into the military if a war should occur. This is another important aspect of national service.
National service increases the size of a country’s military. It also increases the defence capabilities of a nation and means its population are more ready to fight if the nation should go to war. This is why it is important.
2. It Teaches Young People Valuable Skills
A second reason why national service is important is because it teaches young people valuable skills.
National service provides citizens of a country with military training. However, as well as being taught how to march, shoot, maintain equipment and train physically, national service also teaches a range of vocational skills to young people. Many people who do national service learn skills such as mechanics, engineering, logistics, construction and driving heavy-goods vehicles. Practical skills such as these can be massively beneficial to young people.
National service allows a country’s citizens to learn vocational skills in real world contexts, not only in college classrooms. This is a major reason why it is important.
As well as teaching young people practical skills, national service is important because it trains young people in valuable areas such as teamwork, leadership, initiative, problem solving and dealing with stress. Gaining experience in areas such as these from a young age can have lasting effect on people.
Many of those that complete national service use the knowledge and skills they gain later in their careers. This is a key reason why it is important.
3. It Helps Build Character In Young People
A third reason why national service is important is because it builds character in young people.
National service is challenging. Military training is often physically and mentally difficult and requires people to push their limits. Doing national services forces young people out of their comfort zones. Many young people live comfortable modern lives but national service forces them to experience hardships, difficulties, and uncomfortable conditions. This builds character and is a big reason why national service is important.
When young people have completed national service, they are often changed by the experience. The fortitude and grit they get by overcoming the challenges that military services puts them through gives them a positive attitude when facing future difficulties in their careers or personal life. This is one reason why national service is important.
National service is seen by many as being character building. Ensuring young people have experienced that push them means they are less suspectable to pressure. It also means they can better appreciate the comfortable lives they have.
4. National Service Helps To Unite A Country
Another reason why national service is important is because it helps unite a country.
National service is often obligatory for all male (and sometimes female) citizens of a country when they become a certain age. There are usually very few ways to avoid national service. Countries that face clear military threats, such as Israel, South Korea and the island of Taiwan, hold national service in high regard as it is key to their national defences.
The fact almost everyone has to do national service makes it a unifying institution. It brings people together from all backgrounds, religious groups, ethnicities, and regions of the country and gives them a common purpose and experience. This is a big reason why national service is important.
National service is also important because it can be used to instil traditions, culture, history, and ethics into all young people of a country. Although schools and colleges often focus on areas such as these, the practical aspects of military service connect young people with the country’s past, as well as highlights the sacrifices previous generations have made to build the nation.
Many people see national service as a strong unifying factor for a country, and this is why it is important in many nations.
5. National Service Ensures People Give Back To Their Nation
A further reason why national service is important is because it makes sure people give back to their nation.
National service requires a degree of sacrifice. Young people must give up their time, often several years. They also must complete mentally and physically difficult military training whilst living in often uncomfortable environments. In countries with national service there are usually very few people who are exempt.
Although national service is a sacrifice for young people, it is important because it makes them give back to their countries. Nation states provide security, economic benefits, education, healthcare, political participation, and an identity to their people. However, in order to survive, and thrive, nations often need their citizens to make sacrifices for them. Many previous generations made enormous sacrifices to build the nation’s most people live in today. National service is important because it continues this legacy of giving back to a nation.
Many people say that national service is favoured by people who are too old to do it. This is especially the case when countries are debating whether to introduce national service. However, one reason why national service is important is because it ensures citizens of a country spend some time working for the greater good of their nation.
6. It Makes The Government And Military More Accountable
A final reason why national service is important is because it makes a county’s government, and military, more accountable.
In countries with national service, drafting young people into the armed forces is done by law. People who do not comply can be fined or jailed. However, one advantage of this is that it makes young people more engaged with politics as different political parties often take different approaches to the use of conscription.
Another reason why national service is important is because it connects a country’s citizens with their military. If almost everyone in a country has a member of their family or friends in the armed forces, this means going to war has a greater impact on the country’s population as a whole. This makes a government much more accountable to their people.
National service also makes a country’s military more accountable. In nations without national service, few people are directly connected to the armed forces. However, national service means that huge numbers of people within a country either have been in the military or know someone who is. National service is important for a country because it connects a its people to their armed forces, and visa versa.