There is a special hearing today being held by the National Commission on Military, National and Public service regarding the Selective Service. From their web site:
The Commission seeks to learn more about why people serve and why people may choose not to serve, as well as ways to increase the number of Americans in military, national, and public service. The Commission welcomes comments from the public on any aspect of the Commission’s mission and feedback on the staff memorandum released prior to the Commission’s public hearings. Please note which subject you address prior to submitting your comment.
In advance of each hearing, the Commission staff will release a staff memorandum that presents preliminary summaries of research and analysis that the Commission may consider as it develops its recommendations for the Congress, the President, and the American public. We welcome your comments on the ideas presented in these memoranda. In your comment, please identify which memorandum you are providing feedback on. The staff memorandum can be found here, under the appropriate hearing.
General comments include any aspect of the Commission’s mission, including the following questions:
- Does service have inherent value? If so, what is it?
- How does the U.S. increase the desire for Americans, particularly young Americans, to serve?
- What are the barriers to participation in military, national or public service?
- How can the U.S. increase participation in military, national, and public service by individuals with critical skills to address national security and other public service needs of the nation?
- Is the military draft or draft contingency still a necessary component of U.S. national security?
- Are modifications to the selective service system needed?
- Is a mandatory service requirement for all Americans necessary, valuable, and feasible?
Today is the 45th anniversary of the day I raised my right hand for the first time.
I would do it many more times over the next twenty two years. I was in the last group of men that were in the Vietnam Era draft but I volunteered at 17. The Vietnam war was still active and I felt compelled to serve. My Grandfather served in WW1 and Dad served in WW2. All volunteers. We served to protect America from all enemies foreign and domestic. The lessons of World War 1 are stark reminders about the need for selective service and preparedness.
Before the war began, resistance to preparedness led the country to not being ready for the challenges it faced.
Not only were eligible men not identified, but the overall lack of planning led to large wait times that probably lengthened the war. Had American boys been trained and ready to go in 1917, hundreds of thousands of lives would not have needlessly been spent in the war that had already been raging. Our troops were not drafted until May of 1917 and then they entered the training pipeline.
There were not enough camps for the men, ships to send them over, and resources to house them once they were there. We were not prepared.
Registration is a critical first step that makes the next steps possible. It is foolish to think that there will never be another conflict. Having an information data base that is accurate about the potential forces that could be mustered is one of the most critical step to national preparedness. In any future conflict, the timeline will be greatly shortened. Technology has shrunk the world in ways that we could never have imagined. Getting the men and women prepared and into the line of battle quickly will be more important in the future than at any time in our nation’s past. If that infrastructure were attacked with electronic warfare or God forbid an EMP scenario, trying to make up for the gap in information would be a critical challenge. A layered and protected system of registration should be a national priority and always kept up to date.
The main change I would hope to see would be the inclusion of females as a needed part of the equation.
Ships, submarines, planes and even combat units have now been integrated. The skills and knowledge that women can bring to the battle are very important to the national defense. They already share a significant part of the defensive posture and must be included in a modernized registration process. Technology has become the great equalizer in the past forty years and it is time for a Selective Service System that recognizes the changing climate. In the end, our country was created by people who recognized our special place among nations.
America is a country that symbolizes freedom all around the world. No other country has the ability to stand up when others have been pushed down.
It is the contribution of the American fighting men and women that ensures this both now and in the future.
One thought on “Some people will do anything to avoid the draft – April 24, 1972”
Raising my hand on going in was the best thing I ever did also. I look at my grandson and think to myself, “A few years in the army wouldn’t hurt him one bit.” God knows, I’ve tried to talk him into it.