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Secetary of Defense Says No Chance for a Draft

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Updated October 22, 2004
By John D. Banusiewicz

WASHINGTON -- The idea that the United States needs to return to a military draft is "false and mischievous and, in my view, nothing better than a scare technique," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a radio interview on October 20.

The secretary told Bob Guthrie on San Antonio radio station WOAI-AM that the draft talk is an "effort that's being made to frighten young men and women."

"The truth is we do not need a draft," Rumsfeld said. "We're not going to have a draft."

U.S. law requires a selective service system and periodic assessments of any need for conscription, he said. "But there is not a draft," he emphasized. "There will not be a draft."

As a congressman from Illinois in the 1960s, Rumsfeld said, he introduced legislation to end the draft in favor of an all-volunteer force. Today, he added, of the nation's 295 million people, 1.4 million are on active duty in the military services, and another 865,000 are in the Guard and Reserve. "And it is not a problem at all attracting and retaining the people we need to serve in the armed forces," he said. "Every one of them is a volunteer."

He noted that the Army, Navy and Marine Corps are meeting 100 percent of their recruiting goals, and that Air Force is meeting 101 percent of its goals.

Guthrie asked the secretary about a published report today that doctors might be drafted.

"Look, go back and read that article carefully and then check it for facts," the secretary said. "You'll find we do not have a draft. We do not intend to have a draft. There is no intention to draft doctors, or dentists, or veterinarians, or anything else I can think of."

For complete information about the probability of a military draft, see the article, Are You Going to be Drafted?

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