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A bill before the House Armed Services Committee would require the induction of young men into the military “to receive basic military training and education for a period of up to one year,” according to a summary of the measure.
The bill, called the “Universal Military Training and Service Act,” introduced last fall, was sponsored by Reps. Nick Smith, R-Mich., and Curt Weldon, R-Pa. If passed, it would require all males 18-22 to “receive basic military training and education as a member of the armed forces,” unless otherwise exempted under provisions of the measure.
“Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person inducted as a conscript or accepted as a volunteer pursuant to this Act shall receive basic military training and education as a member of one of the armed forces for a period of not less than six months, but not more than one year,” the bill says.
With approval, draftees could stay for an additional six months of training.
The measure currently has no co-sponsors. It was referred to the Armed Services committee Dec. 21.
Besides basic military training, conscripts would be given courses on homeland security as well as “United States and world history [and] vocational training. …”
Subject to the needs of the military, the bill also allows draftees to choose which branch of service they’d like to serve. Those opposed to serving in the armed forces or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles would be granted “conscientious objector” status, but they would be required to participate in “a national service program.”
Once discharged, persons “shall not be subject to any further training or service under this Act,” but could be subject to recall – given certain age requirements and the needs of the Pentagon – if the U.S. were engaged in a major conflict or were attacked.
Officials with the Selective Service System – the agency that would administrate the draft – could not immediately be reached for comment, but according to information published on the agency’s website, any new draft would be “dramatically different” from the last time men were drafted for military service, during the Vietnam War.
For one thing, SSS would use a “lottery system under which a man would spend only one year in first priority for the draft – either the calendar year he turned 20 or the year his deferment ended.”
“Each year after that, he would be placed in a succeedingly lower priority group, and his liability for the draft would lessen accordingly. In this way, he would be spared the uncertainty of waiting until his 26th birthday to be certain he would not be drafted,” the agency said.
Also, a college student can only have his induction postponed until the end of the current semester, while seniors “can be postponed until the end of the academic year.” During Vietnam, thousands of men received perpetual deferments for the entire time spent in college.
“If a draft were held today, there would be fewer reasons to excuse a man from service,” the agency said.