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U.S. Plans Targeted Draft for Computer Personnel 1212

waytoomuchcoffee writes "The US Selective Service System is drawing up plans for a 'special skills draft'. There is already a system in place to draft health care personnel, and this system would be expanded in order to 'rapidly register and draft' computer specialists."
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U.S. Plans Targeted Draft for Computer Personnel

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  • Booyah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:26PM (#8552490)
    Type 1 diabetes was never this handy! They don't want me anywhere near the military.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:29PM (#8552515)
      It's about a MILITARY DRAFT. One of the exemptions from draft is type 1 diabetes.
      • by leifm ( 641850 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @09:49PM (#8557235)
        One the bright side this may be the only way I ever get a coding job.
    • Re:Booyah! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by saden1 ( 581102 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:42PM (#8552648)
      If you've ever accepted financial aid you are on the hook. Besides, computer specialists don't exactly involve having to do real combat. I imagine you'll be operating things from proxy. It would be like playing video games except you might be coordinating real Tanks and Apaches.
      • Re:Booyah! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Phillup ( 317168 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:33PM (#8553089)
        I was in the Air Force for eight years.

        I remember one of my supervisors telling this little story... he volunteered for the Air Force because he didn't want to get drafted by the Army and sent to some hill in Vietnam with a gun.

        So... he became a "communications specialist"... and was put on a hill in Vietnam... without a gun.


        Nothing like not having to do "real" combat...
      • Re:Booyah! (Score:5, Informative)

        by HungWeiLo ( 250320 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:55PM (#8553260)
        don't exactly involve having to do real combat. I imagine you'll be operating things from proxy.

        Yeah, that's what they told Shoshana Johnson, who thought all she would do was cook in the mess hall. [cnn.com]
      • Re:Booyah! (Score:5, Informative)

        by superdan2k ( 135614 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @04:17PM (#8553401) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, I was a comm geek. Didn't stop me from spending time in the hospital recuperating from a firefight. Trust me, it doesn't matter what level of geek you are -- you'll still learn to run-n-staff for every one combat arms soldier. You think that the Army will let you sit on your ass in an air-conditioned bunker because you know how gun just like the rest of the grunts, and you'll still be put in that situation, regardless of your MOS? Why? Because there are 11 support to bust out mad C++? Think again. Jessica Lynch was a supply clerk, after all...
    • Re:Booyah! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Charlton Heston ( 588481 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:07PM (#8553723) Homepage
      Being gay is very handy too. Don't ask don't tell? Well --- if they are shooting at me, I'm definitely telling.
  • never too late... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by djocyko ( 214429 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:26PM (#8552495)
    to move to canada =\
    • by spazoid12 ( 525450 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:32PM (#8552540)
      Or... to learn how to spell "Rob Malda".
  • by whoda ( 569082 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:27PM (#8552505) Homepage
    Just say you don't know how to use Microsoft products.

    • Re:You're all safe (Score:5, Informative)

      by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:36PM (#8552588) Homepage Journal
      Just say you don't know how to use Microsoft products.

      While this has been the case with large IT groups within large governmental organizations in the past, this is starting to change within certain groups like subsets of the Department of Homeland Security and groups within the FBI and CIA. A number of those folks are going to other platforms like OS X for security reasons, convenience, management and hardware infrastructure like Altivec which can speed up cryptography significantly. Of course some of the older guys know Nextstep quite well and were fans of the NeXT boxes when they were de-rigeur at the NSA and places in the CIA and are quite happy with OS X.

      Linux has also made big strides in places, particularly the TRUSTED flavors.

  • by DarkFencer ( 260473 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:27PM (#8552506)
    'rapidly register and draft' computer specialists

    Better go out and start writing my e-mail with Outlook Express! That will immediately prove I am not a computer specialist
  • sure, why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dogas ( 312359 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:28PM (#8552508) Homepage
    If they pay more than the paltry salary I'm making now, then draft me up!
    • Re:sure, why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:34PM (#8552569)
      Why would they need a draft if that was the case? It's not like military recruiters are hard to find...
    • Re:sure, why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:36PM (#8552589) Journal
      Hell, I mean, if they are having a draft anyways, They don't need a draft for this... I'll sign up for computer stuff so I don't get drafted/shot at!
    • Re:sure, why not? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jasonditz ( 597385 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:53PM (#8552752) Homepage
      The whole reason to have a draft is so you can pay far below market rates.

      Conscription is logically equivalent to slavery. Consider yourself lucky if you get minimum wage, most of the plans to draft unskilled troops won't even give them that much.

      • Re:sure, why not? (Score:5, Informative)

        by demi ( 17616 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:16PM (#8552953) Homepage Journal
        The whole reason to have a draft is so you can pay far below market rates.

        Yes, below market, but it depends on your definition of "far." They won't be paying you any less than those of equivalent rank--for a university graduate level specialty it's going to mean at least a warrant officer's billet--looking at the military pay scale (at least for 2002) that's around $25k/yr, a lot more than minimum wage. A general draft for E-1s pays them (again in 2002) $13272/yr, again more than minimum wage. You aren't going to starve.

        Conscription is logically equivalent to slavery.

        You mean because you can't opt out of it? I don't think this is equivalent to slavery. As citizens, there are several obligations we have to the government, some of them onerous: like taxes. This is just one of them--a particularly onerous one--but since it's temporary and reasonably humane I don't think you can compare it to slavery.

        • Re:sure, why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jasonditz ( 597385 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:47PM (#8553201) Homepage
          Slavery is forced labor.

          Conscription is forced labor.

          Yeah, that's a real stretch of a comparison.

        • Re:sure, why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gaijin99 ( 143693 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @04:16PM (#8553397) Journal
          You mean because you can't opt out of it? I don't think this is equivalent to slavery. As citizens, there are several obligations we have to the government, some of them onerous: like taxes. This is just one of them--a particularly onerous one--but since it's temporary and reasonably humane I don't think you can compare it to slavery.
          Disagree. Taxes are non-fatal. The draft requires that a person who disagrees with the policy of his government risk his life for the policies he disagrees with. This is similar to a measure requiring that you vote for a particular party.

          Voluntary military service can be thought of as the ultimate form of democracy: can't get enough people to volunteer to fight your war? Too bad, guess you can't fight it then. I can't see how forcing me to kill for a cause I disagree with is anything but slavery.

          Taxes are a different deal, mainly in that they don't force me to kill, or force me to risk my life. I may disagree with how my tax dollars are spent, but as a civilian I still have all my rights and can aggitate for change. A soldier can, quite legally, be punished for disagreeing with government policy (this is why you no longer see non-anonymous interviews with soldiers who disagree with the Bush Government's policy. The first few who did so non-anonymously suffered retribution). A civilian can protest, write nasty letters, run for office against the politician who is spending his money, etc. A soldier can do none of those things. The draft is not equivilant to paying taxes.

  • I thought (Score:5, Funny)

    by JoeBaldwin ( 727345 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:28PM (#8552510) Homepage Journal
    I thought they were outsourcing these things :)

    Next up: Outsourcing missile control to China...
  • But... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by James A. J. Joyce ( 759969 ) <wrt@forpresid e n t.com> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:29PM (#8552512) Journal
    ...how do they determine who has "computer skills"? And is this really feasible? How will they make someone work for them? How will they even know if a computer programmer is a computer programmer? Do they have some kind of national database of them? This isn't anything like normal conscription, and sounds like a dodgy idea to me.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:29PM (#8552513) Homepage Journal
    If they're drafting you for 'special skills' you're pretty unlikely to get stuck out someplace where you have a high chance of catching a bullet (or some high explosive.) This is probably far less true in the case of people with language skills, however.
    • by Ugmo ( 36922 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:01PM (#8552820)
      I was in the AF 5 or 6 years ago. I joined up as a programmer. You could be a programmer or an operator. Programmers could only go to England, Australia, Hawaii and certain (nice) bases in the continental US. Operators could end up anywhere there was a computer, possibly in forward positions, definitely in the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia.

      I thought I had made out great but shortly after my training was complete they changed all the rules and any programmer not actually programming day to day was instantly an operator. Since at that time the policy was to buy all new software off the shelf I wasn't programming (shell scripts don't count).

      The point is that you can't count on anything once you are in. The rules change day to day and moment to moment. Also a lot of people in the "safe" Saudi cities away from the front died in the first Gulf war due to Scuds.

      Finally, considering the amount of hi-tech equipment becoming standard, a programmer might find himself in a tent in Syria doing maintenance on a Tank or in the jungle in the Philipines fixing a soldiers heads up display.
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:29PM (#8552514)
    The present operation of the US Selective Service is more or less trivial because the draft system not active, and it takes an Act of Congress in order to activate it. However, an Act of Congress can also totally rewrite the rules,

    The draft in its present form is also very unconstitutional because it discrimates between men and women. In this day and age, that makes it a political untouchable. To require women to register will spark protests, but to not require them to do so would lead to court injunctions halting the draft process.

    Congresspeople also have learned something from the Vietnam war. If a war is so unpopular that we are out of "weekend warrior" reserves and we can't convince people to join on their own, as a politician you should be voting to force a withdrawl rather allow the war to continue. To be depleted to the point that a draft is needed in modern times is a sign that we've already lost and just can't admit it.

    The only people in Congress who called for a draft during recent years have been those who oppose the president's military plans. By rolling out a draft, or even raising the possiblity of a draft, a war effort suddenly becomes less popular.

    Bottom line... the Selective Service exists only as a tool to be used in a doomsday situation, just like all of the city fallout shelters that were built in the USA during the cold war to be prepared for a nuclear bomb that never came. I'd consider anything new we hear from the Selective Service to be a rarely-used bureaucracy trying to justify its existance because in tight budgets, cutting the Selective Service's staff is always a low-pain cut.
    • by Cocteaustin ( 702468 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:34PM (#8552576) Homepage
      In the absence of an Equal Rights Amendment, discrimination between men and women is absolutely constitutional. At any rate, military necessity has trumped virtually every constitutional guarantee ever extended to Americans, so whether it's constitutional or not is pretty much moot.
    • by peeping_Thomist ( 66678 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:42PM (#8552644)
      To be depleted to the point that a draft is needed in modern times is a sign that we've already lost and just can't admit it.

      The fundamentals have not changed between WW2 and now, and a draft was certainly needed to prosecute that "good war". While other parts of your comment may indeed be "insightful", this part most certainly is not. There's no reason to think that every war worth fighting can be fought with volunteers.

      If the US is ever again drawn into a conflict as large-scale as WW2 was, be sure that a draft will be put in place. This will not be a sign that we've "already lost", but rather a sign that we are willing to do what it takes to win.
      • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:58PM (#8552793) Journal
        The fundamentals have not changed between WW2 and now, and a draft was certainly needed to prosecute that "good war".

        The biggest lesson of every military conflict since the first Gulf War is that manpower is almost irrelevant in the face of technology. Remember, in 1991, Iraq had one of the largest and most battle-experienced armies in the middle East. Yet they got spanked by a much smaller force of tecnologically superior Americans.

        The 1999 war between NATO and Yugoslavia even put an end to the conventional wisdom that invasion by ground forces is required for victory.

        In fact the trend in warfare is to involve as few humans as possible. The second Iraq war was the first large-scale use of unmanned drones in combat; some suggest that the current F-22 will be the last manned fighter jet, and that in the future all military aircraft will be robotic.

        I can imagine a future hypothetical conflict between large, technologically equal adversaries, fought entirely by unmanned vehicles over land, sea, and air. Whichever side's unmanned vehicles ran out first would likely be forced to surrender, given the alternative of certain and pointless death for any human sent to combat the machines.
    • by dbc001 ( 541033 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:50PM (#8552719)
      it takes an Act of Congress in order to activate it.

      It also takes an act of congress to declare war. declarations of war were probably originally intended to be used only in doomsday situations as well. Now we now that the concept of war has been perverted and twisted so that while our politicians claim to wage a successful war, they have also carefully made sure that war was never declared, bypassing the checks and balances that you originally suggested will protect us from the draft.
    • by pr0t0plasm ( 183810 ) <pr0t0plasm&luckymud,org> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:52PM (#8552738) Homepage
      That's right.
      Nobody's going to revive the draft. [salon.com]
      Just like nobody's going support Patriot II. [wired.com]
      I mean, this is America. That can't happen here
    • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:41PM (#8553151)
      I wanted to write a slashdot story about this, but the Selective Service is dead serious about a draft and so is the president. I have in my posession an application to be on the draft board in my county, mailed to me by the Selective Service. YES, THE SELECTIVE SERVICE IS RESTAFFING DRAFT BOARDS. If thats not a wakeup call I dont know what the fuck is.
  • by MrZaius ( 321037 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:29PM (#8552516) Homepage
    If they're this desperate for workers, is there desperation reflected in wage scales, benefits, etc?

    What's a guy make with a freshly-minted bachellaureate in computer science make, working for the military? Where do most of them end up, both in geographical and task-related terms? How much control over where they put you does a new officer have?
    • What's a guy make with a freshly-minted bachellaureate in computer science make

      About 7 bucks an hour at the local Wal-Mart
    • by Mad Marlin ( 96929 ) <cgore@cgore.com> on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:39PM (#8552615) Homepage
      If you have a bachelor's degree, then you should start out as an officer. A 2nd lieutenant makes about $27,000 [dfas.mil]. If you have a degree in computer science and don't suck, you will get promoted very quickly.
    • by jasonditz ( 597385 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:57PM (#8552780) Homepage
      If they were willing to pay a decent wage they wouldn't be running short on workers.

      Its not like most of the people here have any moral objection to being complicit in murder.

  • Oh, great.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:30PM (#8552520) Homepage Journal
    Oh, great. This is going to be worse than the ASFAB test I took in my first undergraduate year. Before my eyes lost their 20/17 rating, I planned to fly for the Marine Corps, but I had dudes from a number of government agencies aside from the armed services calling my apartment and dropping by both home and work.

    So, it is stuff like this that is going to make anonymity much more important than it is now. The problem of course is that unless you are completely disenfranchised from society your academic records are known, any published writing you have is known, your credit rating is known (believe it or not, certain government agencies look very carefully at your credit rating when recruiting you), and "virtual" persona are relatively easy to correlate with specific persons (all of you anonymous cowards take note). And all you folks that think: "Well, my Ph.D. or M.D. is going to keep me out of the draft", take note. If you are under the age of 45, we are prime candidates.

    • Re:Oh, great.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Uggy ( 99326 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:01PM (#8552823) Homepage
      Just to put a little moderating spin on this whole discussion (not necessarily you) - We seem to have this "us" vs. "them" mentality. The government _is_ "us". If we see "us" as "them" and disengage then it is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we engage "them", become involved, vote, write letters, campaign, hold public office, serve in the armed forces, etc. then the government becomes "us." Isn't that how it works?

      I think perhaps we've swung a little too far into paranoia because so few Americans currently serve in the armed forces. I am a captain in the army reserves, and I get the strangest questions from people who have NO idea what being in the military is like. This wasn't true during my parent's generation.

      What I'm saying is this: if we want war and an uncertain future, the best way to achieve this is to not serve, to not care, and to put the power to control such decisions in an increasingly smaller and smaller circle of "good ol' boys."

      Being a soldier means as much about loving war as being a firefighter does about loving fire.

      Now, first things first, we need to get a new fire captain soon... he keeps saying to us, can of gasoline in hand, that, "I'll have some work for you guys in a sec."

  • This reminds me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dr Reducto ( 665121 ) * on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:31PM (#8552533) Journal
    This reminds me that I need to vote and participate in the democratic process.

    I am going into a computer engineering major at UMBC. I was approached by recruiters, and they wanted me to do ROTC. I didn't want to, because if I was going to a good college, I wasn't going to negate the benefits by being stuck in the military for 5 years afterwards. Now again, this could potentially ruin my plans for after school. I will have to vote for a candidate who will try to keep us out of any major wars that would require a draft.

    Disclaimer: I am from a military family, I have nothing against the military, but I personnally don't want to join.
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack ( 534373 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:31PM (#8552534)
    Can't wait to design Access databases for the government. Just hope there isn't too much data, else my listboxes might be hard to scroll.
  • Will.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by barenaked ( 711701 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:31PM (#8552535)
    Will they be outsourcing this draft to india as well?
  • Nothing new... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amigoro ( 761348 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:31PM (#8552537) Homepage Journal

    This has been going on in Israel for decades. As a result, Isreal has produced some of the best computer programmer's in the world. Most of the developers end up in VERY high paying jobs once they are released from military duty.

    Of course, if you don't like the draft, you could always migrate to India India [mithuro.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:32PM (#8552539)
    And what exactly is with the idea of giving something back to the country that makes your way of life possible? Pretty damn typical of Slashdotters - demand everything, give nothing, and complain about it.
    • by Alan Cox ( 27532 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:07PM (#8552881) Homepage
      You too can fight and die for .. the DMCA, 70 year copyright extensions, the RIAA, the MPAA, 1$ a gallon gas and the right to pollute the world... 8)

    • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:52PM (#8553236) Journal
      giving something back to the country that makes your way of life possible

      I am the country -- I and 300 million other Americans. The country is not some capricious god that we dump offerings on.

      When you can clearly demonstrate to me how blowing up chunks of Iraq has significantly benefitted We The People, then I'll happily join up.

      A draft takes place when people don't care about something enough to want to risk dying for it, but do want to force someone else (who feels the same way) to do something about it. Since there are a number of ways of avoiding the draft, and since money and political influence played a role in avoiding Vietnam, I would say that a draft is a stunningly divisive and politically unsound way of achieving that goal.

      If there were a horde of Bush's stereotypical black-swathed turban-wearning terrorists mowing down innocent people outside my front door, would I shoot back and risk my life? I'd at least give it serious consideration. That's a cause that's worth fighting for. Attacking a bunch of Iraqis for political goals that are at best extremely unclear and perhaps poorly chosen, and at worst downright corrupt and evil is not something that I am interested in dying for. Frankly, given a choice between firing a shot at either Ashcroft or a random Iraqi citizen, I can tell you right now who I'd be aiming at.

      While I don't want to be drafted to fight in Iraq, also I don't feel that anyone else should be drafted to fight there. As a matter of fact, I feel very strongly that we should not be involved in Iraq at all. I think that US actions in Iraq have caused political and social repercussions that hurt the United States more than help it. So, no. I would not be "fighting for the the country", I would be fighting against it.
  • A much better idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PapayaSF ( 721268 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:32PM (#8552546) Journal
    Why not just offer large enlistment bonuses and perhaps raise the age limits? I'll bet there are a lot of 40-something geeks who'd be willing to sign up. It would also be a lot easier politically than restarting the draft, and probably get better results: volunteers tend to do better work than draftees.
  • Contingency plan? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:32PM (#8552554) Homepage Journal
    This doesn't make too much sense to me.

    In the past 10 years, computer specialists in the military were offered large retention bonuses to stay in the military and reenlist. Now those bonuses aren't to be seen. I know from experience.

    So why isn't the military trying harder to retain these already military trained computer specialists but supposedly drawing up a draft? Something doesn't jive here.
  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:34PM (#8552564)
    there are twin bills in the house and senate in order to conscript for active duty, rerserve military, and homeland security civilian jobs. Male and female. 18-26. Manidtory 2 years.
    I forgot the bill numbers. My little sister did a paper on it for her highschool government class. I'll stake my life and reputation that it's true, though. The bills have been in the works since early in 2003 and the schedual is to bring them into effect in 2005.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:36PM (#8552591)
    Drop and give me twenty shell scripts!
  • by tedshultz ( 596089 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:37PM (#8552599)
    If the military want to get a bunch of computer specialists, they can just hire them. Drafts are usually only used to acquire cannon fodder because the people who get drafted are often the unrepresented class. It hardly seams fair to pay one CS student's way thought college with ROTC, and then hijack another grad's career without proper compensation.
  • Equal Oppertunity! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:38PM (#8552608)

    The US Selective Service System is drawing up plans for a 'special skills draft'.

    Would this include women?

    Years ago in high school, a female friend once angrily declared the draft "sucked". I looked her straight in the face and said "What do you care?" "Huh?" "You' can't be drafted, only men can be." This was apparently a major revelation, and shockingly, the draft was forgotten about almost immediately.

    Main theories I've heard are that a)"our nation's daughters" coming home in body bags during a war would be political suicide, and b)"women aren't as [strong/smart/whatever] as men". Oh, then there's c)"women would use their feminine wiles to distract the men busy fighting!"

    Ever notice how feminists just really aren't torn up about any of that, even though most of it is deeply sexist? Also notice how Jessica Lynch was supposedly(according to the Army) beaten, raped, tortured, etc- when all evidence(and her own comments, before she developed permanent amnesia of events) point to all her injuries coming from the car accident she was in, and that Iraqi doctors took exemplary care of her? It's like the Army was saying "look, this is why you don't want women in the military! They're brave but helpless, and can get RAPED! Isn't she cute? She could be YOUR daughter!"

  • by craXORjack ( 726120 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:39PM (#8552620)
    ...for all those jokes we made about him on Slashdot!
  • I knew it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GeekZilla ( 398185 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:40PM (#8552623)
    Well, I always suspected it. I am a member of the US Naval Reserve and about two years ago, the NAVRES asked all of it's members to fill out a "skills profile". This profile would be used to solicit qualified members and ask them to volunteer to fill temporary billets as they arose. The program was presented as a way to find the best service member for the task and to offer them the oppurtunity to take orders for that job. A lot of the billets that open up are from 6 weeks to 9 months.
    I was always dubious of doing this, becuase if there were ever a "crisis" and they REALLY needed someone with my skills, I foresaw the "volunteer oppurtunity" becoming an "involuntary recall to active duty" in a heartbeat.
    I doubt this decision is directly related, but now they have a massive database of skills that they can search through and draft from first.
  • Amateur Radio (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:51PM (#8552728) Homepage
    Amateur radio operators were an important source of technically skilled recruits during World War II. Computer hackers could fill a similar role in future conflicts. Not so much for their civilian skills, but for a pool of people with demonstrated intelligence and aptitude for technical jobs.
  • Oh come on (Score:4, Funny)

    by Forkenhoppen ( 16574 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:55PM (#8552761)
    Why don't they, like, have a special draft for lawyers? Why pick on us techies? Okay, sure they won't be much use in battle, but still.. wouldn't everyone like to see the fellas at SCO trying to put a restraining order on an Iraqi guerilla army?
  • by calmdude ( 605711 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:56PM (#8552772)
    I wonder how they will be able to know if we are indeed experts in our field? Will they draft only the pioneers of our field? Only those names that have published books?

    Perhaps they'll surf Monster.com for resumes.

  • by doormat ( 63648 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @02:59PM (#8552800) Homepage Journal
    This is America, you'd think by now we'd be fighting with robot armies and other new-age weaponry.

    Besides, I'd rather put effort into improving infrastructure than destroying it. Give every Iraq cable TV and start a bunch of McDonalds and they'll be too lazy and fat like us Americans to give a shit about their government.
  • by pherris ( 314792 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:42PM (#8553159) Homepage Journal
    The last time the draft was used was in 1973. At that time local draft boards were >95% staffed. Draft board positions are voluntary, last 10 years and can be renewed once for another 10 years at the draft board member's request. Over the last 20 years local draft boards have not been replacing members that have left. In June 2002 less than 20% of draft board member positions were filled. By this summer local draft boards will be back up to >95%.

    Now class, can anyone tell me why there would be such a large, quite push to restaff so quickly? Mark my words, the draft will be back.

    Here's my guesses:
    1. If something goes really wrong this summer in Iraq or Afghanistan (like the Tet Offensive in Vietnam) then they will quickly draft and deploy before the November elections.
    2. If Bush is reelected then the draft will start Jan or Feb 2005, slow for the first few months and then when they are up to speed they'll start pulling large amounts of young men.
    3. If Kerry is elected I can't guess what he would do. I don't if there would be a major difference.

    Watch how the US Govt handles draft, induction, training and deployment this time. You'll see companies created that go through boot together, post recruit train together, deploy together, what's left of them will get discharged together and the company disbanded. No more singles in, singles out. This is much more like WWII than Korea or Vietnam.

    If you are 14 - 20 years old then I'd seriously start making plans on what you'll do. Speaking as someone who toted a 16 for his uncle I'd recommend not going at any cost. We use to say "the only thing worst than cleaning a body bag is being in one". As a parent I would do whatever it took to keep my son away from any unjust and immoral war like that clusterfuck going on in the Mid East.

    As Frank Zappa once said: "What they do in Washington is take care of number one and number one ain't you. You ain't even number two."

    • Mark my words, the draft will be back.
      If Bush is reelected then the draft will start Jan or Feb 2005, slow for the first few months and then when they are up to speed they'll start pulling large amounts of young men.
      I am willing to wager you $1000 you are wrong, with the following guidelines:
      1. I bet that by June 1, 2005, not a single U.S. citizen will have been drafted into the U.S. military by Selective Service conscription (i.e., National Guard call-up and the like doesn't count).
      2. I am willing to write a check to you in the amount of $1000 (U.S. dollars only), if you will do the same for me, both of these to be placed in the custody of a mutually trustable third party. I suggest Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctrow or Eric Raymond (all of whom I know) as three possibilities of third parties sufficiently well-known to the Slashdot community to be stewards of the bet (and at least two of which lean politically to the left).
      3. If by June 1, 2005, no draft has been instituted, the third party will give your check and my own to me.
      4. If at any time before that, Congress, the White House, or the Selective Service administration actually reinstitutes (not just suggests or discusses reinstituting) the draft by actually calling up conscripts (news that must be verified on the front page of The Washington Post or The New York Times), then the third party will forward these checks to you.
      5. If a major terrorist incident (defined as one causing 1000 or more civilian deaths) occurs on U.S. soil, the bet is off.

      So, are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? Are you willing to wager cold, hard cash that your paranoid liberal view of the world is rooted in fact rather than delusion? I've even given you four months longer than you're "sure" the draft will be reinstated. Or are you all just talk?

  • by gr3y ( 549124 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @03:48PM (#8553205)

    And my unit spent most of its time in the motor pool, or in the field, digging in the dirt. Not once did I train to perform a mission as a linguist with my unit while I was in uniform, because officers can't lead soldiers who aren't in the field. It doesn't get them promoted, so they uniformly oppose it. Every bit of funding for every linguist mission was cut, and the mandatory eight hours of language maintenance required for all linguists was gradually reduced to no maintenance at all.

    The only time I was actually useful was while on TDY.

    Any assertion that the military needs people in these specialties is not true. They had them, indeed have them, and I can pick up the phone right now, call the RSDNCO of my former unit, and ask what they will be doing on Monday. I am confident that the answer will be: "motor pool".

    This is something that has been brewing since before the Kennedy Report, and it still pisses me off, especially in light of all the back-pedalling from the FBI and military that they "don't have the resources". They did have them. Due to mismanagement and fucked-up priorities (primarily the OER system), they couldn't keep them. My re-enlistment counseling with my commanding officer (whom I respected a great deal) was, "well I can offer you the Army nurse program, or physician's assistant, but unless you want to become an officer, you won't be able to transfer out of your MOS because it's short".

    During my time in the military, I think about one in three linguists re-enlisted, always for choice of duty station. I cannot count the number of linguists that disappeared, that training wasted, because they spent four (or more) years doing nothing. If they left the military under good terms, they should have been actively pursued by the FBI or NSA so that training wouldn't have been wasted. But it wasn't a priority until 9/11. Then, all those three-letter agencies suddenly realized that they'd better come up with effective damage control fast, so they settled on: "we don't have the resources."

    It's a lie.

  • by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @05:05PM (#8553706)
    Rejoice, citizens!

    Thanks to the economic benefits of imperial war, you can soon return to the jobs that major US corporations regrettably had to ship overseas to boost their CEOs' and shareholders' profits. Those profits simply were not high enough after a decade of record earnings! Now that our economy is unable to provide jobs, we will create jobs by fighting for, er, freedom!

    Outsourcing was a painful lesson; we understand. But with our exciting new insourcing, you'll be right back doing what you're used to - writing software, patching Microsoft technology, and answering basic user questions (but politely this time, or we'll have to mercilessly beat you, ha ha!). Heck, we'll even throw in room and board. Can Starbucks give you that?

    Now, you're asking: O Mighty and Glorious Leader Bush, what do I have to do to make myself more deserving? At ease, citizen. Remember: the Enemy is everywhere, and he has no respect for frequent backups or the single-OS monopoly that is the foundation of our free society. Keep your shoes shined and your trap shut, and we'll be in touch when the time comes to fight for the CEOs!

  • by pherris ( 314792 ) on Saturday March 13, 2004 @06:09PM (#8554099) Homepage Journal
    "THIS IS MY DISTRO. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My distro is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master 'Vice City'."
  • I know it's useless to ask Slashdotters to RTFA before posting, but those who did would find the following:
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is adamant that he will not ask Congress to authorize a draft, and officials at the Selective Service System, the independent federal agency that would organize any conscription, stress that the possibility of a so-called "special skills draft" is remote.

    Nonetheless, the agency has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it and the lawmakers agree to such a request.

    This makes clear that the "U.S. Plans Targeted Draft for Computer Personnel" headline is pure scaremongering. No one is about to get drafted. This is not "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming" for those of you trapped in the 1970s. This is deep, long-range contingency planning by a government agency that needs to look busy to keep their funding from being cut.

    Too many people seem to be ignorant of the difference between "contingent" and "imminent." Just because, say, for example, FEMA updates its plans on recovering from a nuclear war DOESN'T MEAN we're planning to launch a nuclear war. Likewise, that whole "Pentagon plans for possibility of global climate change" had nothing to do with them planning for what they thought was going to happen, but everything to do with laying in contingency plans for what MIGHT happen, just like we had "rainbow" plans before World War II as to what we might have to do if involved in a global war against various enemies; just because we made plans for a global war against England, Russia and China (as well as Japan and Germany) didn't mean such an event was likely.

    Will anyone here on Slashdot be called up? If, say, al Queda or North Korea nukes DC or Los Angeles, maybe. Otherwise all this talk is a bunch of blather from people who like to over-react anytime anyone in the Bush administration mentions the words "national security" and "computers" in the same sentence.

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.