22. THE UNHERALDED RETURN OF THE DRAFT: 1984 STYLE

When Jimmy Carter reinstated draft registration in 1980, the Selective Service System was in "deep standby."

Picking up where the Carter administration left off, President Ronald Reagan has quietly revived the Selective Service machinery.

Today, the task of "revitalizing" Selective Service is complete.

The Administration's proud claim: it can draft 250,000 men in one month.

-- Over the last three years, with no press attention, the Selective Service System has quietly organized itself into a nationwide structure capable of mobilizing a quarter of a million draft-age men in less than 30 days;

-- "Operation Proud Saber" is the code name of an annual, secret operation used to test the mechanisms of the system; in 1983, "Operation Proud Sabre" tested the system's ability to stage a full-scale call-up of inductees; the system was judged "ready;"

-- The system's network involves 700 reserve officers, 100 Selective Service officials, and 11,000 draft board members from coast to coast;

-- The personnel on the new draft boards were chosen along the same racist and class lines that generated heavy criticism of America's last Selective Service venture.

Despite campaign promises to the contrary, President Reagan's administration has pursued an all-out effort to revitalize the Selective Service System. Today, the nation's draft boards are staffed and ready for war.

SOURCES:

THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, 7/18/84, "A Bay Guardian Investigative Report: Bay Area Draft Boards Staffed and Ready for War," by Tim Redmon, Charles Heimler, and Julie Marquis, pp 9-17; THE PROGRESSIVE, March 1985, "Do You Feel a Draft?," by Gillam Kerley, pp 20-23.