Peace Time: March 17, 2004

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Conscription ended in the United States in 1972, but the "Selective Service" (conscription) organization still exists. Stories of the government reviving the draft are just scary headlines on a slow news day. However, there are plans to revive conscription, but only for a select (very select) few people. Right now, there are procedures in place to conscript thousands of people in sixty health specialties (doctors, nurses, technicians). These potential conscripts are aged 20 to 44 years old. None will be sent to serve in a combat unit. These people are tagged for possible conscription in the event of a major war, with major casualties, more casualties than the current active duty and reserve medical personnel can handle. This list of potential draftees is now being expanded to include dozens of computer and network specialties and linguists for several languages (Arabic, Chinese, Korean and others.) Most people still think of conscription as a process that grabs young guys and puts them in uniform for two years. No more. Not many young guys are needed for the combat units, and there are plenty of volunteers for that sort of thing. But there is a shortage of specialists in many technical fields. So the draft system is adapting. The American draft law has always allowed for this sort of thing, and some older technical specialists were drafted in the past. But now conscription will only apply to those few people with scarce skills the military needs.

 


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