Uncle Sam Wants You, For One Year


| January 30, 2002 Issue

T he House Armed Services Committee is considering a bill that would require everyone registered for the draft to serve up to one year in the armed services. The proposed Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001 would mandate that men aged 18 to 22 serve between six months and a year in basic military training and education.

In Ka Le O, the campus newspaper for the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, staff writer Erica Cordova studies the implications of the bill, authored by Republican Representatives Nick Smith of Michigan and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania. While the government currently requires all 18-year-old men to register for the draft, there is little chance they will actually be called upon to serve. The proposed law would make as much as a one-year commitment mandatory--even in peacetime. And the law would expand the reach of the draft to include the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam, requiring young male residents of those territories to serve in the armed forces even though they and their parents have no vote in national elections.

Women will be allowed to volunteer, but they would not be drafted. Definitions of deferments and exemptions are vague. For example, young men with extreme hardship would be exempt, but "extreme hardship" is not specifically outlined in the bill. Men with mental or physical disabilities and conscientious objectors would also be exempt. To find out more about this bill, follow the links below.
--Sara V. Buckwitz
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  • Related Links:
  • For the full text of this bill, please visit http://thomas.loc.gov and search for HR3598.
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  • Maine Draft and Military Counselors -- info about conscientious objection, the draft, and other military service issues.
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  • Stop the Draft Action Alert