Sunday, March 20, 2005

Daily Kos :: Draft Must Be Ready Within 75 Days!

Recently FOIA'd documents reveal plans for a variety of draft scenarios.

On March 31st, the Director of the Selective Service System (the SSS) is due to report to the Pentagon that the agency is ready to open 1,980 draft board offices around the country and be ready to operate lotteries by June 15th...

...The Pentagon has been getting ready for a draft since Feb. 11, 2003, when the head of the SSS met with Deputy Undersecretaries of the DoD on the plans for a medical and special skills draft to be called with a combat draft.
Actual Secret Draft Agenda of Feb. 11 2003(.PDF)


Blogger Management said...

Here's the FOIA doc in html: (4.00 / 18)

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 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 below), 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.

3:15 AM  

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