NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Return to Military Draft Unlikely

September 24, 2001

Despite the mobilization of U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia and the call-up of military reserves, the Bush administration says there is little chance of reinstating the military draft.

  • "The Selective Service System remains in a standby caretaker status," the Pentagon said in a statement last week.
  • There hasn't been a draft since the Vietnam War, and the all-volunteer armed forces now depend on soldiers, sailors and airmen who receive much more training than draftees sent from boot camp to the frontlines of Vietnam.
  • But every "able-bodied" American male is still mandated to register with the Selective Service System within 30 days after turning 18.
  • Experts say the United States anticipates no more than 20,000 to 50,000 servicemen and women will take part in the initial phases of the campaign, and only 35,000 reserves out of 1 million have so far been called into service.

Peter Singer, military analyst for the Brookings Institution, says "This is a war that will involve intelligence and speed and skills conducted by sergeants who have master's degrees and ordinary troops who have had two or three years of training on very sophisticated weaponry."

Source: Niles Lathem, "Don't Expect Another Draft, Officials Say," New York Post, September 23, 2001.


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