A bipartisan group of four congressmen introduced a bill Thursday that would abolish the Selective Service System, more commonly known as the draft.
“Maintaining the Selective Service simply makes no sense,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), a former Marine, said in a written statement. “In 1973, the last draftee entered the Army and since then, despite the first Gulf War and subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has never considered reinstituting the draft. Our all-volunteer military has given us the most elite fighting force in the history of this country.”
The proposal comes at a time when some are calling for an expansion of the draft to include women because all combat jobs are now open to them.
A pair of House Republicans introduced a bill last week that would require women to register for the draft.
But Coffman, DeFazio, Polis and Rohrabacher argue the draft is outdated and that the discussion should be focused on ending it.
“Now that women are eligible to serve in combat roles and Congress debates how to proceed on the issue of draft inclusion, we should consider a full draft repeal of the draft and the abolition of the Selective Service,” Coffman said.
Citing a 2012 Government Accountability Office report, they argue that actually enacting the draft would be costly and ineffective. The report found the Selective Service System wouldn’t be able to deliver the Pentagon the first inductees within the required 193 days. Also, the system estimated that it would need $465 million to perform a draft.
The system’s budget now is about $23 million annually.
“Not only will abolishing the selective service save the U.S. taxpayers money, it will remove an undue burden on our nation’s young people,” DeFazio said in a written statement.
“We haven’t utilized the draft since 1973, yet young men who don’t register for the Selective Service are still penalized by the U.S. government, particularly with regards to their federal student loans. We need to get rid of this mean-spirited and outdated system and trust that if the need should arise Americans — both male and female — will answer the call to defend our nation.“
Rohrabacher echoed those sentiments.
“Conscription will not save us money in the national defense,” he said in a statement, “and it is not consistent with America's best tradition of freedom and liberty.”