A Military Draft


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 Serice (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 callup
“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 draft.” 

The
“Issue Paper” document was revealed through the Freedom
of Information Act by Seattle Post Intelligencer reporter
Eric Rosen- berg, 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 explana- tion 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 PI, 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 FOI 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, included:  

  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 is back.  


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, 2005. 


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 2004: $8,769,000) 
  • 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 2004: $955,000) 


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 particularly ominous: 

  • 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 level. 


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 law.


From the American
Friends Service Committee website, reprinted from www. blatanttruth.org.