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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Draft, what draft?

I'm coming for you

Potomac Watch: Administration's own actions fuel rumors of draft


WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indignantly scoffs and scolds about the relentless rumors that the Bush administration is planning to reinstate the military draft.

"This plot is so secret that it doesn't exist," Rumsfeld wrote this week in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. "To my knowledge, in the time I have served as secretary of defense, the idea of reinstating the draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration."

In a radio interview earlier this month, Rumsfeld denounced the rumors as "a mischievous political effort that's being made to frighten young men and women."

This may come as a shock to the Pentagon chief, but most of the rumors have arisen from actions within the Bush administration, which has studied how to expand draft registration to include women, target some civilian work specialties for special attention by the draft and extend the required draft registration age from 25 years old to 34 years.

These draft plans were discussed at the Pentagon on Feb. 11, 2003, by the chief of the Selective Service System, the federal agency that would operate a draft, and senior Pentagon officials.

At the Pentagon meeting, the Selective Service System's then-acting director, Lewis Brodsky, and the director of public and congressional affairs, Richard Flahavan, met with Rumsfeld aides responsible for personnel issues.

Those aides included Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; William Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy; and a top Army personnel aide, Col. David Kopanski.

According to a copy of the meeting agenda, the Selective Service System leaders reviewed the past 30 years of draft registration planning and then made their pitch for more aggressive draft preparations.

"In line with today's needs, the Selective Service System's structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered toward 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 agency said in its February 2003 proposal.

The agency officials recommended formation of a government-wide task force "to examine the feasibility of this proposal" and design efforts "to market the concept" to congressional lawmakers.

The Arlington, Va.-based Selective Service System, which is independent from the Defense Department, envisioned the creation of a massive database that would require all registrants to indicate whether they have skills "critical to national security or community health and safety."


Rumors about the draft also have been fueled by the update of contingency plans for a draft of medical personnel in a crisis.

The New York Times reported this month that the Selective Service System had hired a public relations agency, Widmeyer Communications, to assess how to plan for such a medical draft. The agency advised that "overtures from Selective Service to the medical community will be seen as precursors to a draft" that could alarm the public, the newspaper reported.

This and the steady stream of dead don't help matters much

posted by Steve @ 9:11:00 PM

9:11:00 PM

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