Before You Enlist Video -
Researching Pop Culture and Militarism -
If you have been Harassed by a Military Recruiter -
War: Turning now to Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Christian Science Monitor
Click through to find out
Religion and militarism -
‘A Poison in the System’: Military Sexual Assault - New York Times
Change your Mind?
Talk to a Counselor at the GI Rights Hotline
Ask that your child's information is denied to Military Recruiters
And monitor that this request is honored.
Military Recruiters and Programs Target marginalized communities for recruits...
..and the high schools in those same communities

 Militarization of our Schools

The Pentagon is taking over our poorer public schools. This is the reality for disadvantaged youth.


What we can do

Corporate/conservative alliances threaten Democracy . Progressives have an important role to play.

 Why does NNOMY matter?

Most are blind or indifferent to the problem.
A few strive to protect our democracy.


Thanks for Your Service, but Don't Tell the Kids About It (We Need Them to Enlist)

Emily Yates | Originally published in Truthout -

Emily, Alex and Rishi, all post-9/11 veterans, prepare to talk to students about military recruitment and their experiences in the Army and Marine Corps, at the Pittsburg High School career fair on May 25. (Credit: Siri Margerin)"Excuse me, are you saying negative things about the military?"

The question came over my right shoulder, from a well-dressed woman whose nametag proclaimed her to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Pittsburg, California. We were in the Pittsburg High School gymnasium, the location of an end-of-year career fair for graduating seniors. Two other veterans and I, along with a civilian friend, were tabling there with the Full Picture Coalition, a network of individuals dedicated to bringing students the truth about military recruitment, and we'd been conversing with students for nearly two hours before the woman interrupted us to demand, with eyes narrowed, what kind of negativity we might be spreading. Alex, one of the veterans in our group (and a former Army recruiter himself), smiled at her.

"We're just telling the students about our experience, ma'am," he said. "We're veterans."


I was one of the lucky ones -- my recruiter never promised me I wouldn't see combat. Yet that was a common tactic, as others I met would tell me.


Another woman, also from the Pittsburg Chamber, approached. I recognized her as the one who'd shown us where to set up our table that morning.

"I thought you were here to tell students about corporate jobs they could get after the military," she snapped, glaring at our display of colorful pamphlets and flyers, including one titled "Questions to Ask Your Military Recruiter." "I think you need to leave."

 These Grannies Are Helping to Plug the School-to-Military Pipeline at Its Source

Joyce Chu -

When teachers are underpaid and schools are underserved, why do we pay veterans to encourage young students to join the military?

 On a Wednesday afternoon last month, a group of gray-haired women with canes and Styrofoam guns lined the streets outside the New York City Department of Education’s headquarters in Brooklyn. “Get the military out of our schools!” they shouted, capturing pedestrians’ attention. “No more JROTC!” These were the courageous women of the Granny Peace Brigade, and they were there to protest what they see as the militarization of the city’s public schools.

In his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, Mayor Bill de Blasio allocates some $1.6 million to fund Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs in high schools across the city. Under the program, schools pay retired veterans to teach a military-oriented curriculum approved by the Department of Defense (DOD). If a student decides to enroll, the JROTC class fills a period just like any other; it is incorporated into her daily schedule, and the student receives credit upon successful completion. Instruction may vary by school, but activities often include inspections, physical exercises, discussion of military-approved textbooks, exams, and lessons prepared by the instructor. Some programs may also require students to dedicate their after-school hours to practice marching and shooting—activities that often occur on the school’s grounds.

Nationwide, the costs of JROTC are even more startling. A 2004 study by the American Friends Service Committee found that schools across the United States were spending $222 million annually on JROTC instructor salaries alone. The DOD funds the rest of the program’s expenses: In 2013, that amounted to another $365 million.

Ever since the elimination of the draft in 1973, the presence of military recruiters and JROTC programs has increased in high schools all across the United States. Because the government could no longer compel service, it became necessary to find other ways to persuade young men and women to sign up. And what more opportune place to influence kids than in schools? In 1970, 54 years after the program’s inception under the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, the Army had 585 units operating nationwide. Now there are over 1,700 chapters of the Army’s JROTC branch established in schools across the country—and about the same number operated by other branches of the military. This escalation of the program was necessary for the military “to ensure they can continue recruiting some 200,000 new members that need to be added every year,” says Seth Kershner, a researcher who writes about the counter-recruitment movement. “It’s a huge undertaking.”

This Ex–Army Ranger Goes on Missions to High Schools—but Not to Recruit

Rory Fanning -

For a decade, Afghanistan vet Rory Fanning has been battling the desire to inflict pain on himself. Instead, he visits schools.

Rory FanningEarly each New Year’s Day I head for Lake Michigan with a handful of friends. We look for a quiet stretch of what, only six months earlier, was warm Chicago beach. Then we trudge through knee-deep snow in bathing suits and boots, fighting wind gusts and hangovers. Sooner or later, we arrive where the snowpack meets the shore and boot through a thick crust of lake ice, yelling and swearing as we dive into near-freezing water.

It took me a while to begin to understand why I do this every year, or for that matter why for the last decade since I left the military I’ve continued to inflict other types of pain on myself with such unnerving regularity. Most days, for instance, I lift weights at the gym to the point of crippling exhaustion. On summer nights, I sometimes swim out alone as far as I can through mats of hairy algae into the black water of Lake Michigan in search of what I can only describe as a feeling of falling.

A few years ago, I walked across the United States with 50 pounds on my back for the Pat Tillman Foundation in an obsessive attempt to rid myself of “my” war. On the weekends, I clean my house similarly obsessively. And it’s true, sometimes I drink too much.

In part, it seems, I’ve been in search of creative ways to frighten myself, apparently to relive the moments in the military I said I never wanted to go through again—or so a psychiatrist told me anyway. According to that doctor (and often I think I’d be the last to know), I’m desperately trying to recreate adrenalizing moments like the one when, as an Army Ranger, I jumped out of an airplane at night into an area I had never before seen, not sure if I was going to be shot at as I hit the ground. Or I’m trying to recreate the energy I felt leaping from a Blackhawk helicopter, night vision goggles on, and storming my way into some nameless Afghan family’s home, where I would proceed to throw a sandbag over someone’s head and lead him off to an American-controlled, Guantánamo-like prison in his own country.

Draft Registration and the Selective Service System

Draft registration is one of the ways that all young men (and possibly soon young women as well) have to interact with the military and think about their relationship to military “service”.

Almost all male U.S. residents, regardless of their citizenship, are supposed to register with the Selective Service System (SSS) when they reach age 18, and report each change of address to the SSS until they turn 26. The SSS maintains and regularly tests contingency plans for a general draft of young men (based on the current SSS list of registrants) and/or a separate “Health Care Personnel Delivery System” of men and women up to age 44 in 57 medical and related occupations (based on professional licensing lists). These plans could be activated at any time that Congress decides to reinstate either or both forms of a draft.

The SSS has trained volunteers in every state and county to serve as local draft boards and judge claims for exemption in the event of a draft, such as requests by draftees to be classified as conscientious objectors and allowed to perform non-combatant or alternative non-military service. Guidance counselors or other volunteers in some schools have also been deputized as SSS registrars.

Few young men comply fully with the draft registration law. Knowing and willful refusal to comply is a crime, but nobody has been prosecuted for draft resistance since 1986. To convict anyone of draft resistance, the government would have to prove that they knew they were required to register. This would be difficult unless someone has told the government, or said publicly, that they are deliberately refusing to register. In practice, there is no penalty for late registration, as long as you register before your 26th birthday, and no attempt at all to enforce the address change notice requirement. Many, perhaps most, induction notices sent to the addresses in SSS records would be undeliverable, or would be delivered to registrants’ parents’ homes (or former homes), rather than to the intended draftees.

Most young men who register with the SSS do so only when it is required as a condition of some other Federal or state government program. Men who haven’t register for the draft are ineligible for Federal student financial aid, Federal jobs, and some other Federal benefits. In some states, men of draft age are required to register with the SSS in order to obtain a driver’s license, or are automatically registered with the SSS (sometimes without even realizing it) when they get a driver’s license. Male immigrants of draft age must register with the SSS before they can be naturalized as U.S. citizens.

In 1981, the Supreme Court upheld requiring only men and not women to register for a draft. The court based its decision on deference to the military policy which, at that time, excluded women from combat assignments. Now that this policy has changed, it is likely that continued registration of men but not women will be found unconstitutional. Congress will soon have to decide whether to expand draft draft registration to young women as well as young men, or to end draft registration entirely.

Lawsuits against male-only draft registration are working their way through the courts. Meanwhile, Congress is conducting its most serious debate about the draft and draft registration in many years. Different bills have been introduced in Congress that would extend draft registration to women, end draft registration entirely and abolish the SSS, or attempt to restore the previous exclusion of women from military combat assignments and preserve male-only draft registration. Simlar provisions have been included or proposed for inclusion in other larger bills including the annual National Defense Authirzation Act. Any of these bills could be taken up for debate and vote at any time, possibly with little further warning.


NNOMY members and other organizations and individuals are working to:


Urge Congress to end draft registration – Don’t extend it to women (PDF)









Articles on the Web:



Revised 09/09/2018

Education Action: Reining in Military Recruiting

Seth Kershner -

In 2012, Kate Connell—a photographer with two children in the Santa Barbara public schools—learned that her son’s freshman seminar had a Marine recruiter as a guest speaker. Her son had challenged the recruiter, saying he didn’t like the way the U.S. military was always bombing other countries. At first, Connell thought, “Oh, it’s great you spoke up for yourself and spoke up for peace.”

Her second reaction was: “Oh, my gosh! The Marines were in his freshman class!”

Connell had a long, but dormant, history as an anti-war activist. When the Gulf War started in 1991, she was living in New York City, and she volunteered with the War Resisters League (WRL). Her main job with WRL was helping active-duty military file for conscientious objector status. Later, she relocated to Austin, Texas, where whe worked with Sustainable Options for Youth, visiting local high schools to stimulate discussions with students about “military myths.”

The shock she felt about the Marines targeting her 14-year-old and his classmates spurred her into resuming the activism she had left behind in Austin. The following summer, Connell started campaigning for stronger military recruiter access policies in the 14,000-student school district.

How to Counter Recruitment and De-Militarize Schools

David Swanson -

U.S. military recruiters are teaching in public school classrooms, making presentations at school career days, coordinating with JROTC units in high schools and middle schools, volunteering as sports coaches and tutors and lunch buddies in high, middle, and elementary schools, showing up in humvees with $9,000 stereos, bringing fifth-graders to military bases for hands-on science instruction, and generally pursuing what they call "total market penetration" and "school ownership."

But counter-recruiters all over the United States are making their own presentations in schools, distributing their own information, picketing recruiting stations, and working through courts and legislatures to reduce military access to students and to prevent military testing or the sharing of test results with the military without students' permission. This struggle for hearts and minds has had major successes and could spread if more follow the counter-recruiters' example.

Share this

FacebookTwitterStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedInRSS FeedPinterestInstagramSnapchat
The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY) is supported by individual contributions and a grant by the Craigslist Charitable Fund - 2023 Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. NNOMY websites are hosted by The Electric Embers Coop.

Gonate time or money to demilitarize our public schools



This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues connected with militarism and resistance. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Contact NNOMY


The National Network Opposing

the Militarization of youth
San Diego Peace Campus

3850 Westgate Place
San Diego, California 92105 U.S.A.  +1 619 798 8335
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12 Noon till 5pm PST
Skype: nnomy.demilitarization

Mobile Menu