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Many in Trump’s Orbit Back Mandatory Military or National Service Conscription

Though Trump denies endorsing the idea, many in his orbit have expressed support, including potential running mates.

Former President Donald Trump attends a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 9, 2024, .

Administration officials and allies of former President Donald Trump have suggested that, should he win the 2024 presidential election against President Joe Biden, he should consider implementing a mandatory conscription policy requiring young Americans to “serve” the country in some capacity.

Although the idea would allow young people to choose a variety of ways in which they could serve, the move is viewed by some of these allies to Trump as a means toward solving a supposed crisis regarding military recruitment. Following reports of the views of these allies, Trump vehemently denied on social media ever endorsing them.

After implementing a draft in 1948, following the conclusion of World War II, the U.S. ended the military draft in 1973.

The Washington Post, which was the first to report on these suggestions from the Trump camp, noted that one such individual in Trump’s orbit who has expressed these views is Christopher Miller, who served briefly as the former president’s defense secretary. Miller was also instrumental in helping to author portions of Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation’s radical reimagining of government that would allow the next president in office to decide how to hire new employees, disrupting the civil service program that tries to take politics out of such decision-making.

Miller believes a standardized test at the high school level, called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, should be administered to all students to help funnel potential recruits into positions within the military, based on their skills and intellect levels. Within the Project 2025 platform, Miller also advocates giving Department of Defense officials more access to secondary schools across the country

Per a recent interview Miller gave, he also expressed the belief that conscription requirements should be “strongly considered” and that service should serve as a “rite of passage” and a “shared sacrifice” for young Americans to undertake.

Another member in Trump’s orbit, Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, has also expressed support for required service among today’s youth. Vance, who is on the shortlist of potential vice presidential nominees that Trump is considering, also spoke candidly in a recent interview about the notion.

“I like the idea of national service. And I’m not talking about in wartime,” Vance said, adding that more Americans need to put “some skin in the game.”

After the report was published, Trump said he was against the idea of required military conscription efforts.

“The Fake News Washington Post came up with the ridiculous idea,” Trump argued on his Truth Social website. “The Story is completely untrue. In fact, I never even thought of that idea.”

In fact, The Post itself never reported what Trump’s opinion was on the issue, only discussing what individuals within his sphere of influence were supportive of.

When pressed by The Post in its initial report about the former president’s views, his campaign refused to answer one way or another on how he felt about mandatory military or other forms of service for young people.

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