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US Selective Service Plans ‘Readiness’ Tests For Draft December 22, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Military News, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–The Selective Service System, which has remained in existence despite the abandonment of conscription three decades ago, is making preparations to tests its draft machinery in case Congress and President George W. Bush need it, even though the White House says it does not want to bring back the draft.

The agency is planning a comprehensive test – not run since 1998 – of its military draft systems, a Selective Service official said. The test itself would not likely occur until 2009.

Scott Campbell, the service’s director for operations and chief information officer, cautioned that the “readiness exercise” does not mean the agency is gearing up to resume the draft.

“We’re kind of like a fire extinguisher. We sit on a shelf…Unless the president and Congress get together and say, ‘Turn the machine on’… we’re still on the shelf,” Campbell told The Associated Press.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson prompted speculation about the draft Thursday when he told reporters in New York that “society would benefit” if the U.S. were to bring back the draft. Later he issued a statement saying he does not support reinstituting a draft.

The administration has for years forcefully opposed bringing back the draft, and the White House said Thursday that policy has not changed and no proposal to reinstate the draft is being considered.

The “readiness exercise” would test the system that randomly chooses draftees by birth date and its network of appeal boards that decide how to deal with conscientious objectors and others who want to delay reporting for duty, said Campbell.

The Selective Service will start planning for the 2009 tests next in June or July, although budget cuts could force the agency the cancel the tests, said Campbell.

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