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All-Volunteer Force Meets Nation's Needs, Official Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2007 – The all-volunteer military force is serving the nation well, and no one in the Pentagon is considering a return to a military draft, a Defense Department official said today.

“There is absolutely no consideration being given to reinstituting a draft,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today during a morning meeting with reporters.

Whitman said the current all-volunteer force is doing the job, and doing it well.

“The all-volunteer force has surpassed all of the expectations of its founders,” Whitman said. “The volunteer force is more experienced, more motivated to serve and reenlist. It’s more educated, has a higher aptitude, and all of that means a higher performance and increased readiness.”

In an interview last week with National Public Radio, Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said the possibility of reviving the draft has “always been an option on the table” and that it “makes sense to certainly consider it.”

Lute, the White House advisor on Iraq and Afghanistan at the National Security Council, said the all-volunteer force has served the country “exceptionally well,” but that repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan worry him.

Whitman said that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is on record opposing a return to the draft. In his confirmation hearings in December, Gates responded to a question asking if he believed the United States should return to a draft. “No, sir, I do not,” he said.

Gates said retention in the military services is very good and that increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps would help lessen the number of deployments.

In his December congressional testimony, Gates said he was worried about the impression that enlisting in the military was tantamount to a deployment to Iraq.

“In all honesty, I think that when people perceive that joining the services is not a direct ticket to Iraq, our opportunities for increasing the numbers are going to be significant,” he said.

The last draftee entered the Army in 1973. Since then, every recruit has been a volunteer, and most observers admit the U.S. military is the best armed force on the planet. “(The all-volunteer force) has served this country well for 30 years, and we expect it to continue to do so well into the future,” Whitman said.

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