View Full Version : Selective Service To Test Draft Machinery

12-22-2006, 09:43 AM
Selective Service to test draft machinery


Associated Press Writer
Dec 22, 4:30 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Selective Service System is making plans to test its draft machinery in case Congress and President Bush need it, even though the White House says it doesn't want to bring back the draft.

The agency is planning a comprehensive test - not run since 1998 - of its military draft systems, a Selective Service official said. The test itself would not likely occur until 2009.

Scott Campbell, the service's director for operations and chief information officer, cautioned that the "readiness exercise" does not mean the agency is gearing up to resume the draft.

"We're kind of like a fire extinguisher. We sit on a shelf," Campbell told The Associated Press. "Unless the president and Congress get together and say, 'Turn the machine on' ... we're still on the shelf."

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson prompted speculation about the draft Thursday when he told reporters in New York that "society would benefit" if the U.S. were to bring back the draft. Later he issued a statement saying he does not support reinstituting a draft.

The administration has for years forcefully opposed bringing back the draft, and the White House said Thursday that policy has not changed and no proposal to reinstate the draft is being considered.

The "readiness exercise" would test the system that randomly chooses draftees by birth date and its network of appeal boards that decide how to deal with conscientious objectors and others who want to delay reporting for duty, Campbell said.

The Selective Service will start planning for the 2009 tests next June or July, although budget cuts could force the agency to cancel them, Campbell said.

President Bush said this week he is considering sending more troops to Iraq and has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to look into adding more troops to the nearly 1.4 million uniformed personnel on active duty.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, increasing the Army by 40,000 troops would cost as much as $2.6 billion the first year and $4 billion after that. Military officials have said the Army and Marine Corps want to add as many as 35,000 more troops.

Recruiting new forces and retaining current troops is more complicated because of the unpopular war in Iraq. In recent years, the Army has accepted recruits with lower aptitude test scores.

In remarks to reporters, Nicholson recalled his own experience as a company commander in an infantry unit that brought together soldiers of different backgrounds and education levels "in the common purpose of serving."

Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat, plans to introduce a bill next year to reinstate the draft. House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi has said such a proposal would not be high on the Democratic-led Congress' priority list.

Hearst Newspapers first reported the planned test for a story sent to its subscribers for weekend use.

The military drafted people during the Civil War and both world wars and between 1948 and 1973. Reincorporated in 1980, the Selective Service System maintains a registry of 18-year-old men, but call-ups have not occurred since the Vietnam War.

12-22-2006, 10:01 AM
VA Head: Draft Beneficial to Society
Veterans Affairs secretary says military draft beneficial, but he doesn't support it


NEW YORK, Dec. 22, 2006
By SARA KUGLER Associated Press Writer

(AP) President Bush's secretary for Veterans Affairs said Thursday that "society would benefit" if the country brought back the military draft, then clarified that he doesn't support such a move.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson spoke a day after Bush said he is considering sending more troops to Iraq. The administration has for years forcefully opposed bringing back the draft, and the White House said Thursday that its position had not changed.

Nicholson, who served in Vietnam, was in New York to announce a partnership with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help homeless veterans find housing.

A reporter suggested that the all-volunteer armed forces attract a disproportionate number of minorities and people trying to lift themselves out of poverty, and asked Nicholson if the draft should be reinstated to make the military more equal.

"I think that our society would benefit from that, yes sir," Nicholson said.

The secretary recalled his own experience as a company commander in an infantry unit that brought together soldiers of different backgrounds and education levels, noting that the draft "does bring people from all quarters of our society together in the common purpose of serving."

He later issued a statement saying his comments had been misconstrued and that he does not support bringing back the draft.

Nicholson, a graduate of the military academy at West Point, N.Y., served eight years on active duty as a paratrooper and Ranger-qualified Army officer, then 22 years in the Army reserve. He has held the VA post since February 2005.

Bush said he has not made up his mind about whether to send more troops to Iraq. No timetables or totals have been outlined publicly, but by some accounts roughly 20,000 troops could be added to the 140,000 already there.

12-23-2006, 02:48 AM
Flurry of Calls About Draft, and a Day of Denials



WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 — As the de facto media contact for the Selective Service System, Dick Flahavan is the Maytag repairman of government press people. With the military draft out of business since 1973, the Selective Service just doesn’t get a lot of calls these days.

But by midday Friday, Mr. Flahavan’s office had fielded dozens of inquiries, not just from reporters but from some anxious parents as well, all with some variation of the same urgent question: Are you reinstituting the draft?

So adamant was the denial that Mr. Flahavan, a bit beleaguered, had his staff members post an unplanned update Friday morning at the top of Selective Service’s Web site: “No Draft on Horizon!”

What prompted all this was a Hearst wire service article noting that the Selective Service was making plans for a “mock” draft exercise that would use computerized models to determine how, if necessary, the government would get some 100,000 young adults to report to their local draft boards.

The mock computer exercise, last carried out in 1998, is strictly routine, Selective Service officials said, and it will not actually be run until 2009 — if at all. The exercise has been scheduled several times in the last few years, only to be scuttled each time because of budget and staffing problems, and Mr. Flahavan said he would not be surprised if it was canceled this time around, too.

No matter. With President Bush saying that he wants to increase the size of the Army and the Marine Corps, the military strained near the breaking point and the secretary of veterans affairs suggesting publicly this week that a reconstituted draft could “benefit” the country, even the notion of a mock exercise seemed to strike a nerve.

Since the start of the war in Iraq, some Democrats and Internet bloggers have been stirring up talk of a “secret plan” by the Bush administration to resume the draft, and the mere mention of the idea summons Vietnam-era images of birthday-generated draft lotteries and draft evaders fleeing to Canada.

Mr. Flahavan, an associate director of the Selective Service who has worked there for nearly two decades, has seen fears of a draft enflamed before — most notably at the start of the Persian Gulf war in 1991 and the start of the Iraq war in 2003, as anxious parents would call to ask what effect their son’s heart murmur would have on his draft status. He said he understood the anxiety caused by this week’s latest round of reports, even if he found the whole thing somewhat irksome.

“People think, ‘Aha, they’re having an exercise, dusting off the plans, a draft must be right around the corner,’ ” he said.

The reality, said Mr. Flahavan, who spent most of Friday tamping down the fears, is that “this is much ado about nothing.”

“None of that is accurate,” he said.

White House officials did their part to dampen the speculation as well.

“The president’s position has not changed,” said Trey Bohn, a spokesman for the White House. “He supports an all-volunteer military, and the administration is not considering reinstating the draft.”

Although senior military officers agree that the armed forces are stretched, they also agree that a return to the draft is not the best way to fill the ranks. Draftees, they say, are not as motivated as volunteers, and tend to leave as soon as possible, after spending much of their time in costly training. Re-enlistment rates are much higher among volunteers.

Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, has championed the idea of bringing back the draft, calling attention to what he sees as social and economic inequities in the volunteer military. The House rejected his bill in 2004, by 402 votes to 2. Mr. Rangel has said he will try again, but other Democratic leaders have been cool to the idea.

The exercise planned for 2009 would run computerized models to assign random lottery picks by birthday and simulate the processes for notifying those selected and for lodging conscientious objector claims.

William A. Chatfield, director of the Selective Service, said Friday that “we try to send out a signal of strength that we’re prepared.” The Selective Service, he said, needs to be ready “if something totally unforeseen should come upon us.”

But for now, the chances of that happening are “very, very, very low,” Mr. Chatfield said. “There’s nothing even being discussed in a remote fashion, but you have people trying to create fear when there’s nothing there.”

12-23-2006, 03:16 PM
Alex Jones went into length about this yesterday.

Where you think Bush is going to get his 20,000 more troops for Iraq.

I am sure as shit not volunteering.