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Posted on May 14, 2020 Print this Article

Issue 61: May 2020

While the nation focuses on a single issue -- the Coronavirus Crisis -- the nation's Capital in Washington, D.C., is mostly deserted. Still, national defense issues of concern to CMR are not going away. Key votes on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2021 will be coming up soon and CMR is watching developments closely.

Throughout the CV-19 crisis, the Center for Military Readiness has been staying on top of these issues analyzed in this edition of CMR E-Notes, and more:  

  • The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service has released its Final Report, which recommends legislative and administrative policy changes that are even more radical than we predicted.
  • The commission's push to impose Selective Service obligations on women relies on the notion that social experiments with gender in the combat arms have been completely successful. Attrition rates for women that are twice as high as men's suggest otherwise.
  • Transgender activists keep trying to repeal the Trump/Mattis military policy regarding persons who identify as transgender or suffer from gender dysphoria. This time they are citing a contrived survey that misrepresents the opinions of servicemen and women on the issue. CMR looked deeper and published the facts.

President Donald J. Trump has been fighting a two-front war to Make America Well Again, with the word "well" having a double meaning. The crisis is not about health alone - our economy must be restored as well. National security depends on prosperity, and our military must be strengthened with sound policies that put readiness first.

CMR will always hold officials accountable for policies that harm readiness and make life more difficult or dangerous for military men and women.

* * * * * 

A.  National Commission Recommendations: Co-Ed Conscription and Big Government

On March 23, the $45 million National Commission on Military, National and Public Service released its 225-page Final Report titled Inspired to Serve. The report is illustrated with appealing pictures of Americans freely providing help and services to others, especially in times of emergency or great need.

A closer look at the Commission's recommendations, however, reveals a radical approach that commissioners themselves described as a "revolutionary." In a covering letter, all eleven commissioners endorsed "bold action" that should be "required."

This CMR Policy Analysis answers major questions about the National Commission's proposals regarding Selective Service - one of several topics we plan to analyze in the coming weeks:  

Big Government + A Presumption of "Service" = Loss of Personal Freedom

The National Commission's blueprint for massive growth in Big Government would change the lives of every young person in America.  Comprehensive proposals are pre-scripted in a detailed Legislative Annex package wrapped in red, white, and blue ribbons and tied with a bow. Congress should not be deceived, however.  

The Commission's proposals, incorporated in the 222-page Inspired to Serve Act of 2020 (HR 6415), has been referred to 13 different House committees.  If enacted, HR 6415 would do far more than the "Draft Our Daughters" legislation that Congress rejected in 2016.

Among other things, the National Commission recommended that the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA) be amended by replacing all references to "men" or "male" with "gender neutral" terms that would include women. This was no surprise, since most members of the National Commission were appointed by former President Barack Obama, liberal congressional leaders, and former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ).

The National Commission endorsed the controversial "Draft Our Daughters" recommendation without the full and objective analysis that Congress charged the Commission to conduct over three years with $45,000,000 to spend. Taking it a step further, the commission also proposed a fundamental change in the very purpose of the MSSA.

Instead of recognizing that Selective Service and a possible future draft should only be activated if there is an urgent need for "combat replacements" during a catastrophic national emergency, the commission wants Congress to drop that rationale, allowing Selective Service to register and possibly draft both men and women for less than compelling reasons.  

This diagram, published on p. 112 of the Final Report, outlines a "Draft Induction Pipeline" for all but Conscientious Objectors who would be assigned to do "Alternative Service."  

This change in the purpose of a draft from combat replacements to mobilization generally would set the nation on a path to mandatory national service.

Commission Recommends Cabinet-Level National Service "Czar"

If the National Commission's recommendations are enacted, all citizens would "serve" under the direction of a new Cabinet-level bureaucracy called the Council on Military, National, and Public Service. This Council, headed by an Assistant to the President, would become an inter-agency military/civilian bureaucracy that Congress would be expected to subsidize with generous funding on a permanent basis.

This unaccountable Council would be empowered to commandeer the lives of young people for two years, directing them into military service or work in "certified" civilian organizations such as Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Peace Corps.

The CNCS is mentioned as the implementer or beneficiary of government mandates and funding no less than 25 times in the commission's list of recommendations (Appendix A) and 189 times throughout the report. (Mark Gearan, who was the Commission's Vice-Chair for National & Public Service, is a former Executive Director of both the CNCS and the Peace Corps.)

Under the commission's blueprint, "certified" service organizations would assume special interest status and be named as recipients of millions in subsidies funneled through the proposed Council on Military, National, and Public Service.

"Presumption of Service" or Presumption of Freedom?  

Ninety percent of the report's text promotes what appears to have been the goal all along: mandatory universal national service (MUNS).

Compliance would begin with national service educational programs continuing from Kindergarten through higher education with enforcement involving a combination of sticks (penalties) and carrots (conditional benefits). A preliminary National Commission Staff Memorandum: Universal Service describes an Orwellian "transformative effort to involve many more Americans in military, national, or public service."

"Punishments or sanctions for failing to meet a service requirement could range from ineligibility for government benefits or employment to fines or imprisonment. The program could offer incentives such as completion certificates, educational benefits, preference in federal hiring, or even a tax-free award to every American granted at birth and received by citizens after their service term." (Feb. 2019, Staff Memorandum, pages 1 and 5)

As stated in a letter from Commissioners their goal is to create a universal "Presumption of Service." They seem unaware that apart from its Article I power and responsibility to raise armies, Congress does not have the constitutional authority to conscript anyone for the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or any other "good cause" or organization, even if Congress deems such service beneficial to the country.

Volunteers who freely give of their time and effort to help others deserve support, encouragement, and thanks. But the National Commission's concept of universal service would, in effect, replace the Presumption of Freedom that Americans enjoy under our Constitution.

Implementation of the commission's recommendations for both the military and the civilian world would constitute the biggest expansion of Big Government power ever engineered.

B.  National Commission Fails to Make Case for "Draft Our Daughters" 

In 2016 there was a brief but intense debate about legislation to impose Selective Service obligations on young women as well as men.  Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain proposed support for House-passed "Draft Our Daughters" legislation, which he horse-traded to get what he may have wanted all along -- the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.

Three years later, the Final Report of the Commission briefly quotes from the CMR Statement for the Record that Elaine Donnelly presented to commissioners in the Fall of 2018, and discusses the question of co-ed conscription with respect for both sides. The report fails to meet the expectations of Congress, however, stating its support for registering women with the weakest possible argument: "The time is right."

Actually, data comparing attrition rates of men and women, which various branches of the military and combat arms communities presented to the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) last December, indicate that the time is not right to assign women to the combat arms.

This is a brief (2-page) analysis of Defense Department data showing that attrition rates for women average twice those of men:  

The Commission's report reflects two mistaken assumptions: a) Women would be equally effective in combat arms units such as the infantry if a draft were necessary; and b) The government should be empowered to infringe on the liberties of young people for reasons other than national defense.

Both complex issues should be considered separately, without mandatory "national service" proposed as an acceptable alternative for women whose physical capabilities in combat cannot match those of men.  CMR will provide more analysis of the Commission's Final Report in the coming weeks.

C.  Congress Should Not be Fooled by Fake Survey on Transgenders in the Military

In January, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-CA) announced his intent to push for legislation to re-establish and codify Obama-era transgender policies. Activists promoting that campaign crafted a new tool: a previously undisclosed two-year-old academic survey, which the Military Times mislabeled a "Pentagon study."

In an article headlined Two-Thirds of Troops Support Allowing Transgender Servicemembers in the Military, Military Times falsely claimed that the "study" was funded by the Department of Defense. As CMR has explained in this article, the survey was done in 2017-2018 by social service academics affiliated with two California universities (UCLA and USC).  

This was a feelings-oriented micro poll of self-selected respondents - not a credible measure of military opinions. Congress should not be fooled by faux surveys designed to deceive.

The Trump/Mattis policy assigns priority to medical considerations, operational readiness, and combat lethality. It has a good chance of being upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, and it deserves continued support.

D.  Florida Villages Singer Lifts Quarantine Spirits with Song

Neighbors stop to listen: "I'm Proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free . . ."  

E.  Gen. Frederick Kroesen, USA (Ret), RIP

From our founding in 1993, CMR was honored to have the full support of retired Army Gen. Frederick Kroesen, a distinguished military leader who died April 30 at his home in Alexandria, VA.  

Gen. Kroesen was a highly decorated infantryman who rose to become Commander in Chief, US Army Europe, and Commander, NATO Central Army Group. In his 40-year military career, General Kroesen commanded troops in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, including the 82nd Airborne Division, US VII Corps, Germany, and Forces Command at Fort McPherson, GA.

Gen. Kroesen also served as Vice Chief of Staff, US Army. He was a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Land Warfare, Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), and he wrote several insightful articles supporting CMR's position on issues involving women in close combat. Gen. Kroesen was a good friend and a valued member of CMR's Board of Advisors. I will miss his wise counsel and encouraging messages very much. - Elaine

 * * * * * *  

CMR E-Notes is a periodic publication of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent, non-partisan public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  More information is available on CMR's website,



Posted on May 14, 2020 Print this Article