Kerry: ‘I Have Deep Reservations About an All-Volunteer Military’

Says Military Families Have 'Enormous Burden'

In comments supportive of the idea of military conscription, something virtually unheard of among modern US officials, Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting the University of Texas today, declared himself to “have deep reservations about an all-volunteer military.

Kerry insisted that military families have an “enormous burden” from all their overseas deployments and that the US needs to find a way to ensure that all Americans are made to “share responsibility” for the wars, adding “everybody ought to give back something.”

Ironically, during his presidential campaign in 2004, Kerry not only promised to maintain an all-volunteer military if elected, but accused then-President Bush of having a “great potential” to impose a new military draft because he is “out of touch.”

Pentagon officials have repeatedly expressed opposition to the idea of a return to conscription, insisting that the volunteer force is superior. Recent debates have centered on the possibility of ditching the Selective Service system outright, since there is no serious prospect of a new draft and the system is just a waste of money.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.