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WHEREAS, the United States is currently involved in a war that is being fought in large part by National Guards, Reservists, and African Americans and other ethnic male and female volunteers who make up the majority of enlisted military personnel; and
WHEREAS, many of these young people chose to volunteer for the military for patriotic reasons but also as a way of improving their lives and especially for the education and training opportunities the services provide; and
WHEREAS, as a result of their disproportionate numbers, these young and poor people die and are injured in higher numbers than their White counterparts; and
WHEREAS, despite denials by the U. S. Selective Service System regarding the reinstatement of the mandatory draft for males and females 18-26 years of age, there is pending legislation in the House and Senate (companion Bills: S89 and HR 163) that could initiate the programs as early as Spring, 2005, just after the 2004 presidential election; and
WHEREAS, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) has introduced the Universal National Services Act of 2003 which declares its intent "To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes;" and
WHEREAS, HR 163 would require draft by lottery of men and women 18-26 for two year terms and "1) as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; or 2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and homeland security"; and
WHEREAS, under this joint legislation, certain benefits now accorded military personnel will be eliminated; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP commission a series of studies to specifically outline the advantages and disadvantages of a mandatory military draft to determine, among other things:
- What safeguards will exist in a new mandatory draft law that will prevent disproportionate numbers of Black men and women from being drafted?
- Will draft exemptions be included in the law that favor advantaged or wealthy youth versus less advantaged or poverty-stricken youth?
- What are the present casualty rates and are minority groups suffering casualties at a higher rate than Whites?
- What safeguard for the one child in the family?
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP call on the Armed Services Committee of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate along with the Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus to hold hearings and make public the advantages and disadvantages of a mandatory draft; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP is opposed to any form of mandatory military draft until studies have been completed showing it will not disproportionately affect poor African-Americans and other minority youth.