A national commission looking at military and public service has reached no firm conclusions on one its top issues: whether women should be subject to a wartime draft.
The commission punted on the issue in its interim report, but it did explore the controversy.
“Because women can volunteer to serve as fighter pilots, as submariners, and in the infantry, many Americans have questioned why qualified women would not be subject to a draft like qualified men,” the report found. “We have heard from others, however, who believe that physical differences between men and women would make it impractical or even dangerous to conscript women to serve in combat roles.”
The commission is about halfway through its quest to explore how Americans want to serve and how the military needs to set up the draft. Selective service, unused since Vietnam, remains on the books with every American male over 18 required to sign up. “From January to December 2018, we traveled across the nation,” the report said. “We visited big cities, small towns, military bases, government offices, high schools and middle schools, community organizations, and more.”
The big takeaway is that Americans like the idea of young adults serving the nation and their communities.
“Throughout our travels, we learned that Americans value service and are willing to consider a variety of options to encourage or require service of all citizens,” the report said.
The commission was formed in light of the fact that military service is a duty borne by less than 1 percent of Americans. The military in some ways has become a family business.
“Family members of current or former service members are exposed to military service and are more likely to show an interest in entering the military,” the report said.
The commission is also examining how the government can attract the best workers to its civilian posts.
“Civil servants and others also told us that the federal hiring process is too slow, fails to accurately assess job applicants, contains a variety of inflexible hiring preferences, and many times fails to hire anyone for open positions,” the commission found.
The commission plans five public hearings this year and is grinding away on a report due to Congress in 2020.
That report could lead to legislation or, like so many congressionally ordered reports, put a lot of work into a topic that will be left unchanged.
“Between now and March 2020, when our final report is due to the Congress and the president, we will continue to engage the public and conduct additional research in an effort to obtain as much information as possible,” the commission pledged.
Just when you thought it was safe to forget the Cold War, the Doomsday Clock, a measure of nuclear danger, was set again for 2019.
The clock, an invention of the bulletin of atomic scientists, remains hovering close to “midnight,” the time that the group portrays as a nuclear holocaust.
“Citing lack of progress on nuclear risks and climate change dangers as ‘the new abnormal,’ the Doomsday Clock remains at 2 minutes to midnight, as close to the symbolic point of annihilation that the iconic Clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War,” the group said in a news release last week. “The decision announced today to keep the Doomsday Clock at two minutes before midnight was made by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in consultation with the Board of Sponsors, which includes 14 Nobel Laureates.”
The group is led these days by former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has often marched to the left of the liberal movement.
“Humanity faces two dire and simultaneous existential threats: nuclear weapons and climate change,” Brown said in a statement.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx