Monday, November 20, 2006

Rangel pushes for return of the Draft --maybe...

The Draft
News outlets are reporting that Rep. Rangel (D-NY), a longtime proponent of reinstating the draft, plans to push it again, since he will now chair the Ways and Means Committee.

Some politicians, including Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Reid (D-Nev.), are admitting that the current strength of the armed forces in Iraq are not sufficient enough to win the war. Others like Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) think that we should send more troops to Iraq, but that the current volunteer military is sufficient.

I am not a fan of reinstating the draft, but if President Bush and Congress continue to fight the war, more troops are going to be needed. With President Bush seeming to put his eyes on Iran and N. Korea, the possibility of reinstating the draft is higher. Troops are already stretched thin in Iraq. Another engagement would push the military beyond its limits.

Draft to the Federal Government--Not Just Military
According to CNN's account of Rangel's possible proposal, "young people (would) commit themselves to a couple of years in service to this great republic, whether it's our seaports, our airports, in schools, in hospitals". With that quote, I begin to wonder if Rangel is seeing the shortage of workers that the federal government will face.

Generations X and Y (and those to follow) don't seem to consider federal employment like previous generations. As a Gen Y'er who worked for the federal government, I found the archaic nature of it all depressing. Lack of advancement opportunities, rampant incompetence and poor pay drove me away. Federal wages, especially in the D.C. area are barely livable (except for special pay scale excepted service positions, but even those are below average for the area). With an estimated 50 percent of the federal workforce expected to retire in the next five years, the government has to do something to attract younger workers. Unfortunately, Rangel's move to push a draft with other federal non-military service options, may very well succeed.