Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress could soon consider whether to end Selective Service registration or try to expand it to women. It’s critically important to opponents of the draft and war to (1) contact your Representative and Senators and (2) educate, agitate, and organize now to finalize the victory of decades of resistance to draft registration.
Separate bills are now pending in Congress to end draft registration and abolish the Selective Service System (H.R. 5492) or to implement the NCMNPS recommendations including requiring women to register for the draft (H.R. 6415). No action on either of these bills is likely any time soon.
In my testimony to the NCMNPS in April 2019, I told the Commissioners:
Any proposal that includes a compulsory element is a naïve fantasy unless it includes a credible enforcement plan and budget…. How much are you prepared to spend, and how much of a police state are you prepared to set up, to round up the millions of current draft registration law violators or enforce a draft?
The Commission’s recommendations with respect to Selective Service registration are just such a naïve fantasy, completely unfeasible and with no foundation in research or reality. The Commission kept its head firmly in the sand, carefully avoiding any inquiry into whether or how the current (unenforced and widely violated) registration requirement for men, much less an expanded registration requirement applicable also to women, could be enforced.
Whatever the NCMNPS recommends, the release of its report is unlikely to get much attention this week in the news or from Congress. But it will be one of the most significant events in decades in relation to military conscription, setting the stage for a Congressional debate about the future of the Selective Service System that can no longer be postponed indefinitely in light of ongoing court cases, and that is likely to occur sometime in the next year or so.
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).