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A Military Draft
In May 2004, the Seattle Post Intelligencer published an article about a document they received through the Freedom of Information Act. The paper learned that the Social Security Serice (SSS) is currently designing procedures for the implementation of a Skills Draft and had held a top-level meeting on the subject with deputy undersecretaries at the Defense Department. This draft would change the essential mission of the Selective Service and require virtually every young American, male and female ages 18-34, to register for the skills draft and list all the occupations they are proficient in to fill labor shortages throughout nearly the entire government.
The Pentagon is suffering from immediate labor shortages. Recently, the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) had to be called up for the first time since the Gulf War to fill 5,600 job shortages in the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense (DoD) said in the recent IRR callup 20 percent of the call-ups are truck drivers, 12 percent are supply specialists who can use a computer to track supplies, 10 percent are Humvee mechanics, 7 percent are administrative specialists and 6 percent are combat engineers (USA Today, August 8, 2004). Although Congress would have to approve new legislation to create a skills draft or reinstate the combat draft, Family Circle reported in its July 13 issue that Karl Rove had polled GOP members of Congress in September 2002 to see if they would support the president if he requests reinstatement. Republicans said they would vote for the draft and would likely support the new legislation needed to create the skills draft. While Bush and the Republicans are of course keeping the issue of the draft as quiet as possible, many anti-draft organizations have recently begun warning of a coming new draft.
The Issue Paper document was revealed through the Freedom of Information Act by Seattle Post Intelligencer reporter Eric Rosen- berg, who wrote a partial explanation of it that was printed May 1, 2004. Rosenbergs article was edited, however, and some key points about this document were omitted in the published article. What follows is a more complete explana- tion of the document.
This document is real, having been acknowledged by the DoD and the SSS when they said no action is being taken on it at the present time. However, given the current shortages for certain skills and nurses, if Bush is reelected, it is reasonable to expect some of the options outlined in the Issue Paper to be implemented by December and, at the least, preparations for a non-combat skills and medical draft to be readied next year.
Although official word is that this secret list of options is not being implemented, the Issue Paper options have not been formally rejected and the six-page proposal is sitting in the Pentagon, waiting. In addition, the SSS has said that it is designing procedures (Seattle PI, May 1, 2004) to implement the skills draft, meaning designing the compliance cards and the data fields needed to keep track of virtually every young American and their skills. Acting Director of the SSS Brodsky has also said the skills draft is the top priority of the Selective Service for 2004.
From the FOI document, 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 and some other officials. This is the highest-level meeting you could have about the Selective Service, outside of Rumsfeld and his inner circle. They were there to discuss the urgent Issue Paper now revealed, which starts: 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 a part of Homeland Security Planning, changes should be made in the Selective Service Systems registration program and primary mission.
Although it would require changes in current draft law, the proposal shows how far the government is going in order to prepare for an expansion of the draft. The Issue Paper options include:
- Change the very mission of the SSS to become a massive conscription service in the War on Terror for the entire government.
- Conscript men and women in a critical skills non-combat draft up to age 34 with no deferments of any kind, except essential community service.
- Fill labor shortages of all kinds throughout not only DoD, but the whole government, especially targeting high-paying professionals like computer networking specialists or linguists.
- Create a massive database of virtually every young American ages 18 to 34. This database would be used to draft in war and to recruit in peacetime. State and even local governments would be given access to the names for recruitment and help in emergencies.
- Create a single-point, all-inclusive database, in which every young person would be forced to send in a self-declaration of all of their critical skills, chosen from a long list of occupations like those in the Armed Forces Specialty Code. The self-declaration would be similar to IRS compliance and the filling out and signing of tax forms. All young people would be required to keep the government updated if they acquired a new skill. SSS Compliance forms will be available at every Post Office. The usual penalties of imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine would apply to all non-registrants.
- Bring the Medical Draft (HCPDS) up to speed and fully test it through readiness exercises. Reduce induction time from being able to deliver all inductees in 193 days down to just 90 days for skills inductees.
- Promptly redefine the SSS Mission to draft men and women up to age 34 for skills and deliver them within 90 days or sooner to the Department of Defense. Program a massive database to be ready to enter millions of names of those registering their critical skills.
- Expand mission to deliver personnel in skills draft to the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies, including FEMA, NSC, Border Patrol, INS, Customs, Corporation for National Service, Public Health Service, and other federal, state, and local government agencies.
- Form interagency task force to provide Administration with recommendation on this Skills Draft for the entire DHS and the rest of the government.
- Obtain White House Statement of Administration Policy on the future of the SSS.
- Be prepared to market the Skills Draftraising the non-combat age to 34 and the drafting of womento the Armed Services and Appropriations Committee.
In the current five-year cycle of exercises, however, the SSS is clearly ramping up the draft machinery to an unprecedented level. The following information is from the SSS Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2004:
- Ensure a mobilization infrastructure of 56 State Headquarters, 442 Area Offices and 1,980 Local Boards are operational within 75 days of an authorized return to conscription.
- Submit an annual report providing the results of the implementation of these performance measures by March 31, 2005.
- STRATEGIC GOAL 1: Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the Manpower Delivery Systems (Projected allocation for FY 2004: $7,942,000)
- STRATEGIC GOAL 2: Improve overall Registration Compliance and Service to the Public (Projected allocation FY 2004: $8,769,000)
- STRATEGIC GOAL 3: Enhance external and internal customer service (Projected allocation for FY 2004: $10,624,000)
- STRATEGIC GOAL 4: Enhance the system which guarantees that each conscientious objector is properly classified, placed, and monitored. (Projected allocation for FY 2004: $955,000)
- STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4.1: Ensure a mobilization infrastructure of 48 Alternative Service Offices and 48 Civilian Review Boards are operational within 96 days after notification of a return to induction.
- STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4.2: Develop a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Alternative Service Employer Network to specifically identify organizations and associations who can, by law, participate in the Alternative Service Program. This network will provide jobs for ASWs at the local level. Prior to activation, SSS will develop a draft MOU for use when obtaining agreements with qualified employers at the local and national level.
From the American Friends Service Committee website, reprinted from www. blatanttruth.org.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.