Very worrisome to those in the anti-draft movement was the Family Circle July 13 "Could Your Child Be Drafted?", in which Rick Jahnkow, program coordinator of the nonprofit Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities, had found out that `Karl Rove polled Republican members of Congress on how they felt about the draft. They said they'd support the President.'
" Despite Family Circle's circulation of 23 million, this charge was never refuted by the White House, no doubt because the moderate Republican Congressmen who told Jahnkow would then come forward.
But there are also concerns about actions the Bush Administration and the Selective Service are quietly taking behind the scenes, to not only make the Combat and Medical Drafts ready but also to gear up a new kind of draft: the Skills Draft.
Here are the facts on the Skills Draft. This account is confirmed by 1) the internal Agenda document recovered through the Freedom of Information Act, now posted on the Web and acknowledged as real by the SSS and 2) the statements of the Pentagon, Selective Service Congressional liason Richard Flavahan and Acting Director Lewis Brodsky.
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, Flavahan and some other officials. This is the highest-level meeting you could have about the draft, outside of Rumsfeld and his inner circle. The proposed changes discussed in this meeting include:
- Allowing a non-combat draft for shortages in critical skills, without calling a combat draft. This non-combat skills draft would induct men and women ages 18 to 34.
- Fill labor shortages of all kinds throughout not only DoD but the Dept. of Homeland Security and other agencies as well, especially high-paying professionals like computer networking specialist or linguist. However, truck drivers, cooks and several hundred other skills are also considered "critical".
- Create a single-point, all-inclusive database, in which every young person would be forced to send in a "self-declaration"--like an IRS form--of all of their critical skills, chosen from a long list o f several hundred occupations like the Air Force Specialty Code with Skills Identifier. The usual penalties of imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine would apply to all non-registrants.
- Upgrade the Medical Draft so that it collected data on skill sets and other information in the same way the Skills Draft would.
- Reduce induction time from being able to deliver all inductees in 193 days down to just 90 days for skills and medical inductees.
The Agenda document begins by declaring:
"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 part of Homeland Security planning, changes should be made in the Selective Service System's registration program and primary mission."
And goes on:
"Defense manpower officials concede there are critical shortages of military personnel with certain special skills, such as medical personnel, linguists, computer network engineers, etc. The costs of attracting and retaining such personnel for military-service could be prohibitive, leading some officials to conclude that while a conventional draft may never be needed, a draft of men and women possessing these critical skills may be warranted in a future crisis, if too few volunteer."
So the Agenda document proposes:
"In line with today's needs, the SSS structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered towards maintaining a national inventory of American men and (for the first time) women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills."
The head of the Selective Service then explained to the Deputy Undersecretaries how the Skills Draft would work:
"... In addition to the basic identifying information collected in the current program, the expanded and revised program would require all registrants to indicate whether they have been trained in, possess, and professionally practice, one or more skills critical to national security or community health and safety. This could take the form of an initial "self-declaration" as a part of the registration process. Men and women would enter on the SSS registration form a multi-digit number representing their specific critical skill (e.g., similar to military occupational specialty or Armed Forces Specialty Code with Skill Identifier), taken from a lengthy list of skills to be compiled and published by the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Individuals proficient in more than one critical skill would list the practiced skill in which they have the greatest degree of experience and competency. They would also be required to update reported information as necessary until they reach the age 35. This unique data base would provide the military (and national, state, and municipal government agencies) with immediately available links to vital human resources...in effect, a single, most accurate and complete, national inventory of young Americans with special skills."
In short, if a Skills Draft and Medical Draft are authorized by Bush and the Republican Congress in 2005, nearly 40 million young people and a somewhat overlapping 13.5 million doctors, nurses and specialists ages 20-44 will have to go to their local Post Office and register with the IRS. The form will have on it a list of several hundred skills for the skills draft, and at least 61 medical specialties for the Medical Draft form, probably along with a host of other medical occupations, from dental lab technician to health forms processor. Under penalty of a $250,000 fine, these tens of millions of Americans will "self-declare" their name address and all of their skills--and they could be drafted for any one of them--by writing down the coded number for that occupation. Recently, the DoD asked the IRS to help them track down the whereabouts of 50,000 Ready Reserve soldiers they had lost track of, so not registering could be very problematic in 2005.
But this new FOI-recovered document and the actions that the SSS admits they are taking in 2004 proves that at the very least, a Skills Draft and Medical Draft are being quietly readied for 2005--"just in case".
From the FOI document, we now know at the end of the Feb. 11 Agenda document the Head of the Selective Service presented the Pentagon with three 3 Options. Option 1 was to maintain the status quo of male-only registration and the not-quite ready Medical Draft. Option 2 was to put the whole Selective Service into "Deep Standby" with reduced funding. From all indications, and from the statements of the SSS itself (see timeline above), the Pentagon has obviously decided to go ahead with Option 3a and Option 3b, which read:
"Next Step A. #3. Restructure the SSS and shift its peacetime focus to accommodate DoD's most likely requirements in a crisis. Plan for conducting a more likely draft of individual with special and critical skills.
a. Minimum requirement: SSS mission guidance and time lines must be redefined promptly by DoD to allow more relevant pre-mobilization planning and funding for the possibility of a critical skills draft at M+90 or sooner (M+ is the number of days from authorization of a draft to delivery of the manpower to the DoD -ed.). Peacetime registration of men 18 through 25 would continue, but consideration would also be given to identifying men with certain critical skills among these year-of-birth groupings. A post-mobilization plan would also be devised and computer programming accomplished for a full-blown critical skills draft. The HCPDS program is completed, brought to the forefront of SSS readiness planning, and tested through exercises...
b. Expanded pre-mobilization requirement. SSS peacetime registration expanded to include women and men, 18 through 34 years old, and collects information on critical skills within these year-of-birth groupings..."
Note that the memo is recommending that a minimum requirement for going forward would be a "post-mobilization plan would also be devised and computer programming accomplished for a full-blown critical skills draft. The HCPDS program is completed, brought to the forefront of SSS readiness planning, and tested through exercises"
From all signs, the Selective Service was quietly asked by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, to undertake Option 3a and 3b of the Agenda memo over a year ago. The possibility of a Skills Draft or Combat Draft, and the apparent attempt of Donald Rumsfeld, Selective Service spokesman Amon and Acting Director Brodsky to mislead reporters and the public on this issue deserve full debate before the election.
Instead of after it.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the Bush Administration could add several billion dollars to the Defense budget and add two active-duty divisions to the military to save the Volunteer Army. John Kerry is actually proposing just that in his $7 billion plan to add the 2 divisions, and strengthen the military with increased benefits, a doubling of Special Ops and several other programs like his volunteer Civilian Stability Corps (kind of a Peace Corps on steroids).
Yet instead Bush is stretching the Army so thin, they are now calling up the retired Individual Ready Reserve--and they have even sent Company B of the Arlington Color Guard to the Mideast, giving them real bullets instead of the blanks they were firing at military funerals. If they want to preserve the Volunteer Army, as Bush said in the first debate, and not have to reinstate the combat draft, why has the Bush Administration not added the several billion needed to avoid having to call a draft? Out of the $200 billion allocated for Iraq, not one penny was ever allocated to do this.
Timeline of activity on Skills and Medical Drafts
Feb. 11 2003 --Top-level meeting between the head of the SSS and Deputy Undersecretary Abell in charge of Personnel and Readiness of the DoD on a new type of draft, the Skills Draft. This is the meeting recorded in the unpublicized Agenda Document, revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request in May 2004, which recommends a Skills Draft and an upgrading of the Medical Draft. The memo proposes the SSS be able to call up any number of several hundred skills the Pentagon and even the Dept. of Homeland Security might be short of. Option 3 of the agenda's "Next Steps" outlined moving "promptly" to change the mission of the SSS, to actively plan and prepare for the massive datbase needed to track men and women, "virtually every young American" under 35 and their skills (more details below). The SSS goes back to the drawing board after this meeting, encouraged enough to do some more planning.
Summer 2003 --A drive begins to start filling Draft Board vacancies by asking current board members to find new ones. (Salon, "Oiling Up the Draft Machine")
July 25, 2003 - World Net Daily article on plans for the medical draft (HCPDS). System could draft up to 80,000 doctors, nurses and specialists, men and women.
Fall 2003 - In its July 13th , 2004 article, "Could Your Child Be Drafted?", Family Circle reported that in the Fall of 2003, "Karl Rove polled Republican members of Congress on how they felt about the draft. They said they'd support the President." Despite Family Circle's circulation of 23 million, this charge was never refuted by the White House. http://www.oregonparentsunited.org/article..._be_drafted.htm
Fall 2003 --DoD announces critical skills shortages in linguists, computer experts and engineers. SSS Director Brodsky orders the designing of the SKILLS DRAFT procedures, the registration card, and the massive database needed to track every young American under the age of 35 AND their skills (the first step in creating a database is to decide what data fields are needed). The two-year process to gear up SKILLS DRAFT starts a year ago, in Fall 2003, meaning a skills draft could be ready in late 2005 (a new law would have to be passed by the Congress and signed by the President along the lines suggested in "Next Steps" at the end of the Skills Draft Agenda document).
September, 2003 - Acting SSS Director Brodsky, misleads J. E. McNeil, the head of Center on Conscience & War, a Conscientious Objector support and information group, telling her that in February of 2003 the SSS had to "justify their existence" before a hostile committee and that the Skills Draft "planning" was just a way to keep the Selective Service funded for another year. In reality, the SSS and DoD were having the Skills Draft meeting in that same month of February and he himself had just started designing the new draft registration cards and procedures, making it his top priority when the Pentagon announced the critical skills shortages. http://www.nisbco.org/UAA/03152004.html
September 23, 2003 - Draft Board Recruitment ad appears on Defense.Link site. First public ad for Draft Boards in decades. Page scrubbed within a few days of being noticed by some media in early November. Spokesman says there is "no plan" to reinstate draft, that it must be authorized by Congress. Public concern over new draft begins. "If a military draft becomes necessary," the notice explained, "approximately 2,000 Local and Appeal Boards throughout America would decide which young men, who submit a claim, receive deferments, postponements or exemptions from military service, based on Federal guidelines."
November 2003--Draft board ad scrubbed.
Nov. 12, 2003 - "If President Bush is re-elected, it is likely that he will reinstate the draft. The war on terrorism will not end in Iraq, but instead will proceed into countries like Syria and Iran," said Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame.
Dec. 2003 -- Acting SSS Director Brodsky announces the Skills Draft to be the "top priority" of the SSS in the Winter 2003 newsletter The Register, talking of rapid progress to come on the Skills Draft. As with the health care draftees, no medical deferments are allowed in the Skills Draft except for total disability. Startling inside information is revealed: "SSS officials consulted with DoD planners to learn that medical personnel, computer specialists and linguists are difficult to recruit and hard to retain. There are also fears that lengthy and repetitive activations of Guard and Reserve members will boost Reserve Component attrition rates. So a principal objective of PIP-2003 is to shift the Agency's focus away from maintaining a high state of readiness to execute a large draft of untrained manpower and toward preparing for a much smaller draft of trained personnel possessing critical skills needed for military service in a national crisis." This is a direct statement the Selective Service is focused on "preparing" a Skills Draft, that it is not just a planning paper or "food for thought". In addition, there is the internal Pentagon fear that the Guard and Reserves will not meet re-enlistment rates, despite public statements by DoD spokesmen and Rumsfeld himself that a draft is not needed.
http://www.sss.gov/PDFs/NovDec2003-Register.pdf (go to P. 6)
March 13, 2004 -- Word of Skills Draft leaks out in a SF Chronicle story--the SSS admits it but tells reporters it's just a "planning contingency." In a misleading statement to allay fears, the SSS also says it would take 2 years to gear up and work the kinks out of a Skills Draft and that there is no funding for it. In fact, the SSS admits 6 weeks later that it has been actively designing the procedures and the data fields to be used on the Skills and Medical Registration cards since Fall of 2003 when the Pentagon announced shortages in liguists, computer experts and engineers. And SSS Spokesman Richard Flavahan contradicts spokesman Amon saying: "We want to gear up and make sure we are capable of providing (those types of draftees) since that's the more likely need," Eric Rosenberg, the reporter on the story, finds out about the Feb. 11 meeting agenda document and files a Freedom of Information Act request to get a copy.
May 1, 2004 -- Eric Rosenberg's writes an article on the Skills Draft Agenda memo with the memo in hand--but fails to mention several key points: skills conscription would be expanded to fill labor shortages throughout the Dept of Homeland Security, which is 1/3 of the whole government, the Skills Draft can be called without a combat draft, Skills induction will take a mere 90 days of reauthorization, the SSS wanted to "promptly" change the very MISSION of the SSS, and so on. The article does, however, reveal many major points of the sweeping plan. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/171522_draft01.html
May 2, 2004 - Second Rosenberg article with memo in hand. ""These ideas were only being floated for Department of Defense consideration," Amon said. He described the proposal as "food for thought" for contingency planning." "Nonetheless, Flahavan said, "the agency has begun designing procedures to conduct a targeted registration and draft of people with computer and language skills, in case military officials and Congress authorize it." In actuality, however, the SSS was right then designing the cards and data fields needed for the entire Skills Draft and upgrading the Medical Draft based on that design work, they were not just working on a draft for computer and language skills. http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/dailystar/20404.php
Summer, Fall, 2004 -- Mock Combat Draft Lottery held, and sample medical exam report orders issued to sample addresses with mailing list software. Alternative Service is geared up for first time in 31 years. Papers to place Conscientious Objectors with employers as Alternative Service Workers are actually drawn up. With the Alternative Service for the first time geared up in the culmination of a 5-year readiness plan, the SSS is brought up to 95% operational capability. Full Medical Draft capability is set for 2005, and all DRAFT BOARD vacancies are to be filled by Spring 2005, according to column by Ted Rall. The SSS must report to the Director on March 31, 2005, that the entire system could be operational within 75 days. This means that all 1,980 local draft board offices would be open by June 15, 2005. Theoretically, the first draft lottery for Combat for 20 year-olds and older Skills and Medical registrants could then take place. http://www.sss.gov/perfplan_fy2004
Sept 13, 2004 -- Agenda memo of key Feb 2003 meeting posted on the Web. The .PDF file reveals the full scope of the Feb.11 agenda and, in the context of the statements by Flavahan and Brodsky, makes clear the SSS was told by the Pentagon a year ago to go ahead with the Skills Draft. What Option 3a and 3b at the end of the memo indicates for the future of "virtually every young American" can now be read by everyone, so each person can decide for themselves what it may mean to them.
Sept 27, 2004 - When the Rocky Mtn News noted the Feb. 11 memo itself was circulating on the Internet, SSS Spokesman Amon "said the memo was authentic, but he called it nothing more than a `food for thought kind of thing' that was largely rejected inside the Pentagon." These were the same exact words he used in early 2004, despite Flavahan's "gear up" statement, and the revelation that the SSS had been "designing procedures" and data fields for the Skills Draft since Fall of 2003. http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/elec...3212279,00.html
October 7, 2004 - Rock The Vote posts Feb. 11 Agenda memo on their Blog!
HANG UP THIS FLYER EVERYWHERE!!
Printable pdf: http: http://somnamblst.tripod.com/draftalert.pdf
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