Return to the Draft?

An important notice from the Center on Conscience & War:

The Draft Card is on the Table- But No One Looks Like They are Going to Pick it up!

On Friday, Aug 10, Michelle Norris of NPR’s All Things Considered pressed “War Czar” Lt. General Douglas Lute about whether or not he foresaw a return to the draft. He responded, “I think it makes sense to certainly consider it, and I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table, but ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation’s security by one means or another.”

This has resulted in a flurry of discussion about the draft in some circles, reporters pressing the issue in press conferences (such as August 14, 2007’s National Press Club meeting with Gen. George L. Casey), and many calls to Selective Service and the Center, and has evoked responses from at least 2 presidential candidates. (Edwards and Clinton).

CCW has monitored draft issues for decades, and we have always warned that the government has retained the possibility of resuming a draft if it felt it was necessary because of military shortfalls. And with the current wars and shortfalls, we have urged our supporters to be prepared for the possibility even though we didn’t see any evidence of an imminent draft- and we continue to encourage people to be ready, just in case.

The fact that such a statement was made by such a highly placed official in an administration that has always said publicly that a draft was bad policy and unnecessary is cause for some concern. Was the administration floating a trial balloon, to see how the public would react to a draft as some have suggested?

We have carefully investigated this matter, and as of this writing we see no evidence that the administration is gearing up for a draft. In fact, Selective Service officials have told us that they have not been told to gear up for such a scenario. On Friday the Associated Press quoted National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe saying, “The president’s position is that the all-volunteer military meets the needs of the country and there is no discussion of a draft. Gen. Lute made that point as well.”

And he did. In the same interview he went on to say, “Today, the current means of the all-volunteer force is serving us exceptionally well. It would be a major policy shift – not actually a military, but a political policy shift to move to some other course.”

So the evidence suggests that this is not a trial balloon moving towards a draft. However, our advice to be ready just in case still stands.

Although there is no immediate evidence that the draft is returning, now is a good time to make sure that your representatives in Congress hear from you:

A draft is unacceptable!

With increase pressure on meeting recruitment goals, the discussions of a possible invasion of Iran, the possibility of the return of the draft remains.

You can locate your Congressional members online at:



Links to contact Oklahoma legislators here

If you are a young person who feels a strong moral conviction against war (ALL war), or the parent of one, you should register as a conscientious objector, and begin a file documenting your beliefs — regardless of whether there’s a draft or not. For more info and assistance with this process, see