A Military Draft
The Progressive magazine, November
In May 2004, the Seattle Post Intelligencer
published an article about a document they received through the
Freedom of Information Act. The paper learned that the Social
Security Service (SSS) is currently "designing procedures"
for the implementation of a "Skills Draft" and had held
a top-level meeting on the subject with deputy undersecretaries
at the Defense Department. This draft would change the essential
mission of the Selective Service and require "virtually every
young American," male and female ages 18-34, to register
for the skills draft and list all the occupations they are proficient
in to fill labor shortages throughout nearly the entire government.
The Pentagon is suffering from immediate
labor shortages. Recently, the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) had
to be called up for the first time since the Gulf War to fill
5,600 job shortages in the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense
(DoD) said in the recent IRR call-up "20 percent of the call-ups
are truck drivers, 12 percent are supply specialists who can use
a computer to track supplies, 10 percent are Humvee mechanics,
7 percent are administrative specialists and 6 percent are combat
engineers" (USA Today, August 8, 2004). Although Congress
would have to approve new legislation to create a skills draft
or reinstate the combat draft, Family Circle reported in its July
13 issue that Karl Rove had polled GOP members of Congress in
September 2002 to see if they would support the president if he
requests reinstatement. Republicans said they would vote for the
draft and would likely support the new legislation needed to create
the skills draft. While Bush and the Republicans are of course
keeping the issue of the draft as quiet as possible, many anti-draft
organizations have recently begun warning of a "coming new
The "Issue Paper" document was
revealed through the Freedom of Information Act by Seattle Post
Intelligencer reporter Eric Rosenberg, who wrote a partial explanation
of it that was printed May 1, 2004. Rosenberg's article was edited,
however, and some key points about this document were omitted
in the published article. What follows is a more complete explanation
of the document.
This document is real, having been acknowledged
by the DoD and the SSS when they said no action is being taken
on it at the present time. However, given the current shortages
for certain skills and nurses, if Bush is reelected, it is reasonable
to expect some of the options outlined in the "Issue Paper"
to be implemented by December and, at the least, preparations
for a non-combat skills and medical draft to be readied next year.
Although official word is that this secret
list of options is not being implemented, the "Issue Paper"
options have not been formally rejected and the six-page proposal
is sitting in the Pentagon, waiting. In addition, the SSS has
said that it is "designing procedures" (Seattle P1,
May 1, 2004) to implement the skills draft, meaning designing
the compliance cards and the data fields needed to keep track
of "virtually every young American" and their skills.
Acting Director of the SSS Brodsky has also said the skills draft
is the "top priority" of the Selective Service for 2004.
From the FOl document, we now know that
on February 11, 2003, Charles Abell, the deputy undersecretary
of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and William Carr, deputy
undersecretary for Military Personnel Policy, met with Lewis Brodsky,
the acting director of the Selective Service and some other officials.
This is the highest-level meeting you could have about the Selective
Service, outside of Rumsfeld and his inner circle. They were there
to discuss the urgent Issue Paper now revealed, which starts:
"With known shortages of military personnel with certain
critical skills, and with the need for the nation to be capable
of responding to domestic emergencies as a part of Homeland Security
Planning, changes should be made in the Selective Service System's
registration program and primary mission." Although it would
require changes in current draft law, the proposal shows how far
the government is going in order to prepare for an expansion of
the draft. The Issue Paper options include:
* Change the very mission of the SSS to
become a massive conscription service in the War on Terror for
the entire government.
* Conscript men and women in a critical
skills non-combat draft up to age 34 with no deferments of any
kind, except "essential community service."
* Fill labor shortages of all kinds throughout
not only DoD, but the whole government, especially targeting high-paying
professionals like computer networking specialists or linguists.
* Create a massive database of "virtually
every young American" ages 18 to 34. This database would
be used to draft in war and to recruit in peacetime. State and
even local governments would be given access to the names for
recruitment and help in emergencies.
* Create a single-point, all-inclusive
database, in which every young person would be forced to send
in a "self-declaration" of all of their critical skills,
chosen from a long list of occupations like those in the Armed
Forces Specialty Code. The self-declaration would be similar to
IRS compliance and the filling out and signing of tax forms. All
young people would be required to keep the government updated
if they acquired a new skill. SSS Compliance forms will be available
at every Post Office. The usual penalties of imprisonment and/or
a $250,000 fine would apply to all non-registrants.
* Bring the Medical Draft (HCPDS) up to
speed and fully test it through readiness exercises. Reduce induction
time from being able to deliver all inductees in 193 days down
to just 90 days for skills inductees.
This paper urges the mission be changed
"promptly," to a draft for the Pentagon, as well as
the enormous Homeland Security branches and other government agencies,
even state and local. The "Next Steps" section of the
document, strongly recommended by SSS Acting Director Brodsky,
1. Promptly redefine the SSS Mission to
draft men and women up to age 34 for skills and deliver them within
90 days or sooner to the Department of Defense. Program a massive
database to be ready to enter millions of names of those registering
their critical skills.
2. Expand mission to deliver personnel
in skills draft to the Department of Homeland Security and other
agencies, including FEMA, NSC, Border Patrol, INS, Customs, Corporation
for National Service, Public Health Service, and other federal,
state, and local government agencies.
3. Form interagency task force to provide
Administration with recommendation on this Skills Draft for the
entire DHS and the rest of the government.
4. Obtain White House Statement of Administration
Policy on the future of the SSS.
5. Be prepared to market the Skills Draft-raising
the non-combat age to 34 and the drafting of women-to the Armed
Services and Appropriations Committee.
This expansion is primarily proposed,
according to the document, because the cost of providing contract
professionals, like computer network specialists, would be "prohibitive."
That's the new skills draft and the document behind it. But what
about the Combat Draft?
Selective Service has been registering
young men for over 20 years and at any moment the president can
go to Congress and ask them to reauthorize conscription for a
male combat draft for ages 18-25. All that is needed is a short,
"trigger" resolution and the draft for men 18 to 25
The SSS has for decades operated at a
low level of readiness. Readiness exercises are conducted on a
multi-year cycle but historically these have been little more
than training new members every summer and getting draft board
volunteers together and going over the procedures of what would
happen under reinstatement. The draft boards have become 80 percent
vacant over the decades.
In the current five-year cycle of exercises,
however, the SSS is clearly ramping up the draft machinery to
an unprecedented level. The following information is from the
"SSS Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2004":
* Ensure a mobilization infrastructure
of 56 State Headquarters, 442 Area Offices and 1,980 Local Boards
are operational within 75 days of an authorized return to conscription."
* Submit an annual report providing the
results of the implementation of these performance measures by
March 31, 2005.
According to the 2004 plan, the draft
boards will be "operational" then, meaning that they
will be set up in 1,980 local offices around the country. If the
Administration asks for reinstatement on April 1, Congress could
pass it that night and the first batch of more than one million
20-year-olds would face the national lottery as soon as June 15,
Although the Senate rejected the funding
request to bump up the SSS budget to another $28 million, the
SSS says in one paragraph of the Performance Plan that budgets
will be "adjusted" to cover the additional cost for
2004. Here is how the money is to be spent:
STRATEGIC GOAL 1: Increase the effectiveness
and efficiency of the Manpower Delivery Systems (Projected allocation
for FY 2004: $7,942,000)
STRATEGIC GOAL 2: Improve overall Registration
Compliance and Service to the Public (Projected allocation FY
STRATEGIC GOAL 3: Enhance external and
internal customer service (Projected allocation for FY 2004: $10,624,000)
STRATEGIC GOAL 4: Enhance the system
which guarantees that each conscientious objector is properly
classified, placed, and monitored. (Projected allocation for FY
In analyzing each of the 2004 goals in
detail it is obvious that there are hidden "activation bombshells"
in this so-called Performance Plan. Goal number one in particular
brings the combat induction process up to 95 percent operational
readiness, going so far as to actually hold a mock lottery drawing
this year and to issue sample orders to report for the famous
medical exam. The document does not reveal the day in 2004 the
mock lottery is to be held.
In addition, the Medical Draft, or Health
Care Personnel Delivery System (HCPDS), is for the first time
brought up to full readiness by next year. This draft would take
men and women up to age 44 if they are doctors, nurses, or someone
with 60-some medical specialties-with no medical deferments allowed.
Previous readiness exercises merely went
over what would happen with HCPDS and updated the guide. The 2004
plan actually develops a readiness exercise for the Medical Draft
that would be conducted next year. Plus HCPDS must be ready to
conscript by June, as part of the system. Goal number four is
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4.1: Ensure a mobilization
infrastructure of 48 Alternative Service Offices and 48 Civilian
Review Boards are operational within 96 days after notification
of a return to induction.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4.2: Develop a Standard
Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Alternative Service Employer
Network to specifically identify organizations and associations
who can, by law, participate in the Alternative Service Program.
This network will provide jobs for ASWs at the local level. Prior
to activation, SSS will develop a draft MOU for use when obtaining
agreements with qualified employers at the local and national
For 31 years, the Conscientious Objector
system, called Alternative Service, has been dormant. The 2004
plan calls for this to be brought up to speed and to be ready
to decide cases and place COs in the Alternative Service (AS)
by July 6, 2005 (96 days after March 31, 2005). The SSS is drawing
up the Standard Operating Procedures, which identifies local employers
eligible to receive cheap AS workers, and is also drawing up the
actual Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), in which the employer
must sign to get their CO workers and allow their mandatory attendance
to be monitored. This is the last obstacle to be hurdled before
the draft could actually be ready for quick activation under the
From the American Friends Service Committee
website, reprinted from www. blatanttruth. org.
War and Peace page