Are We Ready for Another Military Draft?

What it would take for the US Military to activate the Draft again.

When I was a kid this was talked about quite often and it always made me wonder what paths I would have take had I been drafted.  The last time the Draft was instituted was from 1948 to 1973.  For more than 50 years, Selective Service and the registration requirement for America’s youth have served as a backup system to provide manpower to the US Armed Forces.  President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 which created the country’s  first peacetime draft and formally established the Selective Service Service System as an independent Federal Agency.  From 1948 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces which could not be filled through voluntary means.  In 1973, the draft ended and the US converted to an All-Volunteer military.

So what would it take for the Draft to be re-instituted?

I can think of only 2 reasons.

1.  A conflict that becomes so severe that it requires more military than what’s enlisted.

2.  Regardless of conflict – less and less people are volunteering for the military.

Its basically a simple calculation of supply and demand.  Could we ever get to that point like we did back in 1948?  I believe we can.  For example:  The Selective Service System (SSS) and the U.S. Department of Education now are gearing up to compare their computer records, to make sure all men between the ages of 18 and 25 who are required to register for a military draft have done so.  The SSS and the education department will begin comparing their lists on Jan. 1, 2005, according to a memo authored by Jack Martin, acting Selective Service director.  While similar record checks have been done periodically for the past 10 years, Martin’s memo is dated Oct. 28, just a few days before the Nov. 2 presidential election, a hard-fought campaign in which the question of whether the nation might need to reinstate a military draft was raised in debates and on the stump. It took several more days, until Nov. 4, for the document to reach the Federal Register, the official daily publication for rules and notices of federal agencies and organizations. The memo was also produced after the U.S. House voted 402-2 on Oct. 5, against House Resolution 163, a bill that would have required all young people, including women, to serve two years of military service.  Under federal law, a military draft cannot be started without congressional support.  About 94 percent of all men are properly registered for a draft, according to Richard Flahavan, associate director of the office of public and intergovernmental affairs for SSS.

Here are some requirements for registration:

All male US citizens and male aliens living in the US between the ages of 18 and 25
Dual nationals of the US and another country, regardless of where they live
Young men who are in prison or mental institutions do not have to register while they are committed, but must do so if they are released and not reached age 26
Disabled men who live at home and can move about independently.

What happens in a Draft?:

Congress would likely approve a military draft in a time of crisis, in which the mission requires more troops than are in the volunteer military.
Selective Service procedures would treat married men or those with children the same as single men.
The first men to be called up will be those whose 20th birthday falls during that year, followed by those age 21, 22, 23,24 and 25.
The last men to be called are 18 and 19 years of age.

Here are some historical facts from the last Draft:

The last man to be drafted was in June 1973.
Number of Drafted for WWI : 2.8 million
Number of Drafted for WWII: 10 million
Number of Drafted for the Korean War: 1.5 million
Number of Drafted for the Vietnam War: 1.8 million
Source: Selective Service System

So could the state of things in our country cause another Draft?  I stand by my resolve and answer – YES.  GET READY.

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