The new US National Commission on Military Conscription

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An army vehicle in Korea with soldiers in it, at sunset
Photo: Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper Photo Archive.
Author(s)
CJ Hinke

Thanks to CJ Hinke for this contributed article

On April 3, 2017, US President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum for Reforming the Military Selective Service Process, establishing the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. First published in the Federal Register Vol. 83 No. 33, February 16, 2018, pages 7080-7081.

The Commission’s mandate is not only “to conduct a review of the military selective service process on draft registration” for the first time in decades but to determine “means by which to foster a greater attitude and ethos of service among American youth”.

The hearings seek public input on whether a) draft registration be extended to women as well as men; b) should there be a draft of healthcare professionals and other special skills regardless of age or gender; and if conscription still feasible at all in light of huge numbers of evaders.

Open-mike hearings will begin in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on February 23 and are planned for all nine US Census regions across the US over a two-year period. 

However, the first hearing received only seven days’ advance notice. This is in violation of the statutory requirement for 14 days’ notice which makes the hearing unlawful and may provide an excuse to invalidate its results.

The Commission has nine full-time staff and eleven empanelled commissioners: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2018/01/new-temporary-federal-agency-will-push-national-service/145293/. The Commission was most promoted by Republican Senate hawk, John McCain, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain’s stated agenda is to “draft America’s daughters, compulsory registration, and mandatory military, national, or public service.” If you need some hoo-rah, this is the Commission’s official website: http://www.inspire2serve.gov. Commissioners and staff: http://www.inspire2serve.gov/leadership.

Even though we think the Internet knows everything, we find it troubling that not a single Commissioner or even the Commission’s staff (with the sole exception of its lawyer) lists their email addresses. Were we pessimists, we could say that means, well, they don’t want to hear from you! Obviously, they’re doing a job, getting paid well for it, and why would they want a conversation or dialogue with Americans?!? Frankly, this makes us mad as Heck (the Commission’s chair)!

This effort, financed under ‘defense’ appropriations at $15 million to start but with an actual budget ceiling of $45 million over three years, grew largely out of the autonomous government think-tank, Bipartisan Policy Center which recommended the expansion of draft registration to women and compulsory, universal military testing for all secondary students using the widely-discredited Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) in its final report in 2017.

The principal US center for draft information and counseling, The Center on Conscience & War, made its own recommendations in 2015: an end to draft registration, abolition of Selective Service, a law to protect conscientious objectors in military service.

One study, cited by the Commission’s chair, Brigadier-General and Congressman Joseph Heck (NV-R), “found only 150,000 of 33 million citizens had a propensity to join the military and were qualified”.

The US Department of ‘Defense’ is already discussing its expanded role should Selective Service be abolished.

The President will not make recommendations until March 2020. 2020, of course, is an election year. The public recommendations can either be ignored, used, or abused to score votes.

The Commission has shown a military bias from its start, right from choosing Commissioners on the basis of nepotism in Congress.

Will Americans’ town hall oral submissions, for just two-hour sessions in each of nine US census regions, or written submissions for a period of only eight weeks even be taken into consideration? In the interests of transparency, all submissions must be published and freely available.

Postal mail submissions:

  • National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, Attn: RFI COMMENT—Docket 05-2018-01, 2530 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000, Room 1029 Arlington, VA 22202 +1-703-571-3742.

Email submissions:

ALL SUBMISSIONS DUE BY APRIL 19, 2018. 

Contact: Sandy Scott, Senior Advisor to the CEO <sscott@cns.gov>, <information.ncos@gmail.com>. @inspire2serveUS

For more information, contact:

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft http://www.comdsd.org/ <comdsd@aol.com> and its Draft NOtices newsletter. Also, see http://www.resisters.info.

Here’s a four-part military drill call-and-response to use:

STAND TALL. STAND PROUD.

NO DRAFT. AT ALL.

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CJ Hinke

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CJ Hinke

CJ Hinke