Essay about Historical Analysis of the Military Draft Policy

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Historical Analysis of the Military Draft Policy


The Constitution adopted in 1789 gave Congress the "power to raise and support armies," but it neither mentioned nor prohibited conscription. The Framers left that issue to the future, although most of them believed that the United States like Britain would enlist its men rather than conscript them, and would pay for its armies through the power to tax. Not until World War I did the United States rely primarily upon conscription. The Selective Service Act of 1917 was adopted in large part because a civilian-led "preparedness" movement had persuaded many Americans that a selective national draft was the most equitable and efficient way for an industrial society to raise a wartime army.
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The drawing continued until all days of the year had been matched to lottery numbers. (Berger 1981)

In 1973, the draft ended and the U.S. converted to an All-Volunteer military. The registration requirement was suspended in April 1975. It was resumed again in 1980 by President Carter in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Registration continues today as a hedge against underestimating the number of servicemen needed in a future crisis. (Berger 1981)

Draft Procedure and Policy

When a crisis occurs which requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply, Congress passes and the President signs legislation which starts a draft. It should be noted that the President cannot initiate a draft on his own. Congress would first have to pass legislation (both the House and Senate), and the President would have to sign the bill into law. A lottery based on birthdays determines the order in which registered men are called up by Selective Service. The first to be called, in a sequence determined by the lottery, will be men whose 20th birthday falls during that year, followed, if needed, by those aged 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. The Agency activates and orders its State Directors and Reserve Forces Officers to report for duty. Registrants with low lottery numbers are ordered to report for a physical, mental, and moral evaluation at a Military Entrance Processing Station to determine whether they are…

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