Today’s NPR story is the first mainstream news report on Rostker’s testimony, accuracy of the SSS database, or whether a draft based on the current system would be possible (regardless of whether it is regarded as desirable or who supports or opposes it on political or ideological grounds).
The Commission was created in 2016 to study and report to Congress and the President on whether registration with the Selective Service System for military conscription (“the draft”) should be ended, extended to young women as well as young men, extended to older women and men with skills in special demand by the military (in health care, computer science, STEM, foreign languages, etc.), or replaced with something else such as compulsory “national service” with both civilian and military options.
The Commission’s goal in its interim report released today is not really to “report” on what it has done, but to set the terms of debate (excluding options like, “Admit that draft registration has failed”), and test the political reaction to some of the proposals the Commission is considering.
For the most part, the report was as expected, including a complete absence of any mention of issues of compliance, enforcement, or feasibility of any compulsory service scheme.
Members of the public can attend the news conference in DC on Wednesday by preregistration, and the news conference will be livestreamed on the Commission’s Facebook page. The written interim report will be posted on the Commission’s Web site at Inspire2serve.gov.
The interim report is unlikely to reveal what the Commissioners have agreed, and there is probably still substantial disagreement between members of the Commission. But the interim report will lay out what options the Commission is considering with respect to whether Selective Service registration should be abolished, expanded to women as well as men, or replaced with a new system, most likely a national service scheme in which those who don’t “voluntarily” do civilian work approved by the government would be subject to possible conscription into the military.
The Commission completed its initial round of stage-managed public meetings in September 2018. Here’s more on the activities of the Commission including records of its closed-door meetings and invited briefings, released in response to my ongoing Freedom Of Information Act requests. I will continue to post more Commission documents at Resisters.info as I receive them.
The "National Commission on Military, National and Public Service" has announced that the final event in its year-long series of "informal" open-mike public hearings on whether registration for a military draft should be ended or extended will be at Cal State University, Los Angeles, on Thursday, September 20, 2018, from 3-5 p.m.:
Thursday, September 20, 2018 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT
California State University Los Angeles Golden Eagle Ballroom 1 & 2 5151 State University Drive Los Angeles, CA 90032
Following presentations by an invited panel, members of the public will get 2 minutes each to testify. This will probably be framed as an opportunity to ask questions of the panel, but members of the public can testify on any of the issues the Commission has been appointed to study.
Open-Mike Public Hearing National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service Thursday, April 19, 2018, 3-5 p.m. (doors open at 2:30)
Denver Museum of Science and Industry Schlessman Lobby, Entrance 5 (Evening Entrance) 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO
Matt Nicodemus (phone 720-979-9967) of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in Boulder is organizing local folks to attend the Denver hearing. Please let Matt know at if you plan to attend or can help with local activities. Some readers of this blog will remember Matt’s public refusal to register for the draft in 1980, and his work as an organizer with the National Resistance Committee and as co-editor of Resistance News.