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The Universal Training and Service Act

by Center on Conscience & War, 26 Apr 2002


The Universal Training and Service Act, introduced in December, 2001, is so extreme that it is not expected to go anywhere. But it has changed the debate in Congress, and opens the door for someone to put forth a "more reasonable" draft proposal.

On March 20, Hon. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced a resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 368: Search Thomas: Bill Number: "HCR 368") which states, "that it is the sense of Congress that reinstating the military draft, or any other form of compulsory military service in the US would be detrimental to the long term military interests of the US, violative of individual liberties protected by the Constitution, and inconsistent with the values underlying a free society as expressed in the Declaration of Independence."

In a deliberate effort to make opposition to the draft a "mainstream" issue, Ron Paul cited Pentagon studies showing a draft is not necessary, and in his speech introducing the legislation pointed out how it could actually be detrimental to the military. He refered to opponents of the draft from a wide variety of political perspectives: Barry Goldwater, Bill Bradley, the ACLU, the National Taxpayers Union, Milton Friedman, as well as Ronald Reagan.

Currently there are three co-sponsors: Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Pete Stark (D-CA), and Patsy Mink (D-HI). While this resolution, if passed, would not prevent Congress from later initiating a draft, it is still strategically important because of how the debate in Congress could be framed. Having many cosponsors on this bill creates an atmosphere that makes reinstitution of the draft less likely.

On one level, it appears that a resumption of the draft really isn't likely: the Pentagon claims that the "volunteer" military has been successful; it remembers the difficulty of dealing with conscripts and already has enough trouble dealing with "volunteers" who don't want to be there. The DOD's own studies from the ANY scenario that would require a draft for military necessity.

However, as the administration commits more US troops to more areas of conflict around the globe, they are beginning to be stretched thin. While mobilization plans call for utilizing the reserves before moving towards a draft, that has already been done. Congress is unpredictable these days, and the fervor to get everyone involved in supporting the "war on terrorism" opens up the possibility of a call for reinstituting the draft. (see our last Action Alert)

Our strategy is to get as many co-sponsors as possible onto this proposed resolution. Anyone who signs on will be on record that they don't believe a draft is necessary or desirable. This could function as a hedge against future attempts to bring back the draft. It would also provide a core of congressional members who would presumably rise to speak against a return to the draft.

Contact your member of Congress now, and urge him or her to sign on to H. Con. Res. 368! We want to get as many cosponsors as possible, as quickly as possible.


The last time Congress voted specifically on Selective Service was in 1999. At that time, these members voted to cut funding for it. They may be particularly receptive to co-sponsoring H. Con. Res. 368.

ACKERMAN [D][NY]            ALLEN [D][ME]        BAIRD [D][WA]        BAKER [R][LA]

BALDWIN [D][WI]        BARCIA [D][MI]        BARRETT [D][WI]        BARTON [R][TX]

BENTSEN [D][TX]        BEREUTER [R][NE]        BIGGERT [R][IL]        BLUMENAUER [D][OR]

BLUNT [R][MO]        BOEHLERT [R][NY]        BOEHNER [D][OH]        BONIOR [D][MI]

BORSKI [D][PA]        BOUCHER [D][VA]        BRADY, K [R][TX]        BRADY, R [D][PA]

BROWN, C. [D][FL]        BROWN, S [D][OH]        CAMP [R][MI]        CAPPS [D][CA]

CAPUANO [D][MA]        CARDIN [D][MD]        CARSON, J [D][IN]        CHABOT [R][OH]

CLAYTON [D][NC]        CLYBURN [D][SC]        COBLE [R][NC]        CONDIT [D][CA]

CONYERS [D][MI]        COSTELLO [D][IL]        COX [R][CA]         COYNE [D][PA]

CRANE [R][IL]        CROWLEY [R][NY]        CUBIN [R][WY]        CUMMINGS [D][MD]

DAVIS, D [D][IL]        DAVIS, T [R][VA]        DeFAZIO [D][OR]        DeGETTE [D][CO]

DELAHUNT [D][MA]        DeLAURO [D][CT]        DeLAY [R][TX]        DeMINT [R][SC]

DEUTSCH [D][FL]        DICKS [D][WA]        DINGELL [D][MI]         DIXON[D][CA]

DOGGETT [D][TX]        DOOLEY [D][CA]        DUNCAN [R][TN]         DUNN[R][WA]

EHLERS [R][MI]        EHRLICH [R][MD]        ENGEL [D][NY]        ENGLISH [R][PA]

ESHOO [D][CA]        EVANS [D][IL]        FARR [D][CA]         FATTAH[D][PA]

FILNER [D][CA]        FORD [D][TN]        FRANK [D][MA]         GEKAS[R][PA]

GEPHARDT [D][MO]        GILMAN [R][NY]        GONZALEZ [D][TX]        GOODLATTE [R][VA]

GREEN, G [D][TX]        GUTKNECHT [R][MN]        HALL, T [D][OH]        HASTINGS [D][FL]

HAYWORTH [R][AZ]        HEFLEY [R][CO]        HILL [D][IN]        HILLIARD [D][AL]

HINCHEY [D][NY]        HOBSON [R][OH]        HOEFFEL [D][PA]        HOEKSTRA [R][MI]

HOLT [D][NJ]        HORN [R][CA]        INSLEE [D][WA]         JACKSON[D][IL]

JACKSON-LEE [D][TX]        JOHN [D][LA]        JOHNSON, E [D][TX]        JOHNSON, N [R][CT]

JONES, S [D][OH]        KAPTUR [D][OH]        KELLY [R][NY]        KENNEDY, P [D][RI]

KILDEE [D][MI]        KILPATRICK [D][MI]        KIND [D][WI]        KLECZKA [D][WI]

KNOLLENBERG [R][MI]        KUCINICH [D][OH]        LaFALCE [D][NY]       LAMPSON [D][TX]

LARGENT [R][OK]        LARSON [D][CT]        LaTOURETTE [R][OH]        LEACH [R][IA]

LEE [D][CA]        LEVIN [D][MI]        LEWIS, JERRY [R][CA]        LEWIS, JOHN [D][GA]

LIPINSKI [D][IL]        LoBIONDO [R][NJ]        LOFGREN [D][CA]        LOWEY [D][NY]

LUTHER [D][MN]        MALONEY, C [D][NY]        MANZULLO [R][IL]        MARKEY [D][MA]

MATSUI [D][CA]        McCARTHY, K [D][MO]        McCRERY [R][LA]       McGOVERN [D][MA]

McKINNEY [D][GA]        McNULTY [D][NY]        MEEHAN [D][MA]        MEEKS [D][NY]


MOLLOHAN [D][WV]        MOORE [D][KS]        MORAN, JERRY [R][KS]       NADLER [D][NY]

NAPOLITANO [D][CA]        NEAL [D][MA]        NORTHUP [R][KY]        NUSSLE [R][IA]

OBERSTAR [D][MN]        OBEY [D][WI]        OLVER [R][MA]         OSE [R][CA]

OWENS [D][NY]            PALLONE [D][NJ]           PAYNE [D][NJ]      PELOSI [D][CA]

PETERSON, C [D][MN]        PETERSON, J [R][PA]        PETRI [R][WI]     PHELPS [D][IL]

PITTS, J [R][PA]        POMEROY [D][ND]        PORTMAN [R][OH]        PRICE [D][NC]

RAMSTAD [R][MN]        REYNOLDS [R][NY]        RIVERS [D][MI]        ROHRABACHER [R][CA]

ROUKEMA [R][NJ]        ROYBAL-ALLARD [D][CA]        ROYCE [R][CA]        RUSH [D][IL]

SABO [D][MN]        SANDERS [I][VT]        SAWYER [D][OH]        SCHAFFER [R][CO]


SESSIONS [R][TX]        SHAYS [R][CT]            SHERMAN [D][CA]        SLAUGHTER [D][NY]

SMITH, A [D][WA]        SMITH, C [R][NJ]        SNYDER [D][AR]        SPRATT [D][SC]

STRICKLAND [D][OH]        STUPAK [D][MI]            TAUZIN [R][LA]      THOMAS [R][CA]

THOMPSON, M [D][CA]        THOMPSON, B [D][MS]        THUNE [R][SD]    TIAHRT [R][KS]

TIERNEY [D][MA]        TOOMEY [R][PA]        UDALL, T [D][NM]        UPTON [R][MI]

VELAZQUEZ [D][NY]        VISCLOSKY [D][IN]        VITTER [R][LA]        WALSH [R][NY]

WAMP [R][TN]        WATERS [D][CA]        WATT [D][NC]         WATTS[R][OK]        

WAXMAN [D][CA]        WEINER [D][NY]        WELDON [R][FL]        WEXLER [D][FL]

WILSON [R][NM]        WOOLSEY [D][CA]        WU [D][OR]        WYNN [D][MD]

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