Hi, thank you for the question.
The draft must pass through the Congress and the President must sign
the legislation. Thus, the President can not authorize a draft through
executive order, but can veto the legislation as per normal means.
There is some concern that a "strange bedfellows" coalition of liberal
democrats and conservative hawks could push a draft bill through the
Congress, but do the unpopularity of conscription, it is unlikely that
enough votes will be there to pass such a bill.
However, if Bush is elected, he will not be accountable to the public
for reelection as it will be his last possible term. If the bill is
pushed through Congress it is definitely possible that Bush would sign
it. Kerry would be less likely as he would be accountable to the
public for reelection.
A major crisis could turn the tide of public discontent towards a
possible draft, but as of now, the public strongly oppposes it.
Note on the procedure of authorizing a draft:
Selective Service System
<<CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZE A DRAFT
A crisis occurs which requires more troops than the volunteer military
can supply. Congress passes and the President signs legislation which
starts a draft.>>
$28 million was added to the 2004 Selective Service System budget to
prepare for a draft starting as early as June 15, 2005. Selective
Service, dormant for decades, must report to Bush on March 31, 2005
that the system is ready for activation.
Will draft fears sway voters?
By Tom Curry
Updated: 6:39 p.m. ET Sept. 17, 2004
<<"The Selective Service Agency, the federal body that would run a
draft (which has to be authorised by Congress and the president),
doesn't "foresee anything on the horizon".>>
<<Currently, there are two private members' bills in Congress, one in
the House and one in the Senate, to re-enact the draft.
Democrat congressman Charles Rangel, a Korean War veteran, wants two
years of mandatory military or civilian service for all young
Americans. A similar bill has been sponsored by Democrat Senator
Ernest Hollings, a World War II veteran.>>
US runs low on soldiers
New Zealand Herald
By PETER HUCK
<<In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq last year, Rep. Charles
Rangel, D-New York, lobbied for conscription. This spring, it was Sen.
Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska. Both contend that a draft would spread the
burden of sacrifice more justly than our all-volunteer armed forces
and make jaded Americans own up to the brutal toll war exacts.>>
<<Title: To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young
persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of
military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the
national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] (introduced 1/7/2003) Cosponsors (14)
Related Bills: S.89
Latest Major Action: 2/3/2003 House committee/subcommittee actions.
Status: Executive Comment Requested from DOD.>>
Title: A bill to provide for the common defense by requiring that all
young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period
of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of
the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Hollings, Ernest F. [SC] (introduced 1/7/2003) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.R.163
Latest Major Action: 1/7/2003 Referred to Senate committee. Status:
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.>>
Rumors of a Draft in 2005?
By Kevin Ramirez
<<Appearing on NBC's Today Show on April 21, 2004, Hagel said that
mandatory military service must be considered in the face of what he
described as a generational war against terrorism , with a grim
forecast of the US being engaged in war for the next 25 years! Echoing
prior statements by Selective Service representatives and Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan
replied to Hagel's comments by saying that reinstatement of the draft
is not something that's under consideration at this time.>>
Current Policy (what some call a "back-door draft")
<<What the military would rather do, according to Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld, is improve the way the Pentagon manages the 1.4
million active duty service members in the military. What they plan to
do is reorganize and increase the number of combat brigades from 33 to
as many as 48 over the next several years. This can be done by pulling
troops out of jobs that can then be turned over and performed by
civilian Defense Department workers or government contractors, thus
freeing more troops for combat related duty. To a certain degree the
military has already reorganized itself, with an unprecedented 40% of
troops in Iraq coming from Reserve and National Guard units. On top of
this, the military can always pour more money into recruiting and
retention programs and bonuses, and seek to lift the Congressional cap
on the amount of active duty and reserve soldiers in each branch of
Google Search Terms:
conscription, military service, U.S.
draft, U.S., Iraq
Hope this helps!
Clarification of Answer by
24 Sep 2004 21:07 PDT
Normally, the president can't authorize a draft through executive order.
However, technically, the president could authorize a draft through
executive order, but only after a major attack that threatens national
security, such as a nuclear strike or large-scale terrorist attack.
What's disturbing, is that in the event of such an attack,
conscription would be the least of our concerns. The executive could
also authorize the seizure of private property, communications and a
laundry list of other actions. Basically, such an executive order
would be a declaration of Marshall Law and an overthow of the
government as we know it in favor of a military government.
Such actions can only be taken in the time of emergency, but exactly
what constitutes the magnitude of such an emergency is somewhat
arbitrary. I can't be a natural disaster, but a terrorist attack
arguebly could justify it.
The normal means, however, for instituting a draft is that it must be
passed by the congres and signed by the president.
Executive Order 12656
"PART 23-Selective Service System
As for the dead link-- I haven't been able to find the information
reposted. It just appears that it was removed from the site.
-Hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything further.
Sec. 2301. Lead Responsibilities. In addition to the applicable
responsibilities covered in Parts 1 and 2, the Director of Selective
(1) Develop plans to provide by induction, as authorized by law,
personnel that would be required by the armed forces during national
(2) Develop plans for implementing an alternative service program."
"Support planning by the Secretary of Defense and the Director of
Selective Service for the institution of conscription in national