The Selective Service System has proposed revamping the draft to include the registration of women, expanding the age limits and requiring that young Americans keep the government informed about those critical skills most valuable to the military.

The proposal, presented to the Pentagon before the invasion of Iraq by the agency’s acting Director Lewis Brodsky, would extend the age of draft registration to 34 years old, up from 25. It was revealed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which obtained the plan under the Freedom of Information Act.

“In line with today’s needs, the Selective Service System’s structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered toward maintaining a national inventory of American men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills,” the agency said in a Feb. 11, 2003, proposal presented to senior Pentagon officials, according to the Sunday editions of the paper.

According to the report, Brodsky and Richard Flahavan, the agency’s director of public and congressional affairs, reviewed the six-page proposal with Pentagon officials including Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary for personnel and readiness, and William Carr, deputy undersecretary for military personnel policy.

The agency officials said they would have “to market the concept” of a female draft to Congress before it could be instituted.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said they oppose a revival of the military draft, last used in 1973 as the American commitment in Vietnam waned, beginning the era of the all-volunteer force.

Mandatory registration for the draft was suspended in 1975 but was resumed in 1980 by President Carter after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. About 13.5 million men, ages 18 to 25, currently are registered with the Selective Service.

At present, the Selective Service is authorized to register only young men and they are not required to inform the government about any professional skills. The agency has in place a special registration system to draft health-care personnel in more than 60 specialties into the military if necessary in a crisis.

Related stories:

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Bring back the draft

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Congress considers new kind of draft

U.S. not considering conscription


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