Rumsfeld Rejects Draft

Washington Times: Rumsfeld rejects idea of returning to the draft

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday dismissed the notion of reinstating the military draft, saying that the Pentagon, if needed, can dig deeper into Reserve and National Guard forces to relieve troops deployed in the war on terrorism.

“I don’t know anyone in the executive branch of the government who believes it would be appropriate or necessary to reinstitute the draft,” Mr. Rumsfeld told a Washington gathering of members of the Newspaper Association of America, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Associated Press.

Using a metaphor to explain that the military already has a huge pool of personnel from which to draw, he likened the increased wartime demand on military forces to a spigot and the available pool of troops to a keg full of water.

Presently, the spigot is “too high” or does not reach very deep into the keg, Mr. Rumsfeld said. “We need to lower the spigot. We don’t need to get a bigger barrel.”

Including the total Reserve and Guard force, there are about 2.3 million people “in this universe of the water keg,” he said. “At the present time, we’re only accessing a very small portion of the 2-plus million men and women in the active force and the Reserves in our current deployments.”

“The universe of the water keg.” That’s a phrase you don’t hear every day. Indeed, who knew that people kept water in kegs?

Still, Rumsfeld is certainly correct that we don’t need a draft. As Don Sensing points out, even with a draft, you’d still have to increase the size of the Active force to solve the opstempo problem. And, as I’ve pointed out time and again, it just makes no sense to bring a bunch of amateurs who don’t want to be their into the military for short periods of time.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.