The Selective Service, last Thursday, issued a statement encouraging school administrators to fill vacancies on nearly 2,000 Selective Service boards throughout the country.
When Selective Service registration requirements were resumed by Congress in 1980 after the end of the Vietnam draft in 1973, the agency also revived the local board system. The purpose of the board members is to hear claims for exemptions, deferments or postponements to a young man’s military draft in the event that the practice is reinstated.
Currently, there is no draft, and local boards are not hearing claims. But the agency is urging school administrators to volunteer to serve a 20-year term as a Selective Service board member in the event of a national emergency.
The statement says little of the agency’s reasoning behind the renewed urgency to staff the boards, but does say which individuals it believes are best suited for the job:
“[T]here are vacancies on the roughly 2,000 boards. Selective Service would like to fill them. In the agency’s reasoning, who would make better board members than school administrators? Who understands the lives and needs of young men better than school teachers and staff? Who would be better equipped to adjudicate claims of young men facing induction?”
The military draft has not been an issue discussed heavily in the United States in recent years, though it was mentioned by one Democratic lawmaker on this year’s anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Representative Charlie Rangel of New York said he believes the decision to engage in war would be handled more carefully under draft circumstances, according to The Hill.
“It’s abundantly clear that everybody does not assume the same sacrifices, whether we’re talking about taxes or loss of life,” said Rangel to fellow House members. “I submit that we have to have a draft … not a plea for those people who for economic reasons have to protect themselves.”
Rangel introduced a bill in March, The Universal National Service Act (H.R. 5741), that would mandate two years of national service for all adults 18 to 42 in any capacity that promotes national defense.
According to Huffington Post, this is not Rangel’s first attempt at pushing a draft bill. The House of Representatives voted down a draft measure he introduced in 2004 by a 2-402 vote.