Hell, No, We Won’t Go

Selective Service Studied Rapid-Fire Draft Plan
by Eric Rosenberg

The Selective Service System last year studied whether it should revert to a Cold War-era plan of being able to draft people within 13 days of a crisis, compared to its current goal of carrying it out within six months. But the agency ultimately decided not to make such a major change because of opposition from within the Selective Service System.

William Chatfield, the Selective Service System director, ordered the Arlington, Va.-based agency to study how the organization would shift to what is known as “emergency mobilization.” The agency defines emergency mobilization as being able to conduct a lottery of young American men and delivering 500,000 of them through the doors of military processing stations within 13 days from the start of a draft.

The last time the agency was geared up for an emergency mobilization was in the 1980s, when the U.S. and its NATO allies faced a numerically superior Soviet Union during the Cold War. The 13-day draft option was officially eliminated in 1993.

Since then, the Selective Service System has had its current, less aggressive mission of getting draftees to the military in 193 days-or a little more than six months-in the event of a draft. “Nothing has changed at all,” Chatfield said in an interview, adding: “We are taking a look at all different kinds of scenarios.”

Richard Flahavan, a spokesman for the agency, said of the 13-day option, “We have it on the shelf. We intend to do nothing with it.”

President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have said they oppose bringing back the draft–as do most members of Congress–to address severe personnel shortages in the armed forces caused by ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bush has proposed expanding the overall size of the Army and Marine Corps in order to train thousands more additional volunteer forces.

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