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UNIVERSAL NATIONAL SERVICE ACT 2003 Article

UNIVERSAL NATIONAL SERVICE ACT 2003 Article

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UNIVERSAL NATIONAL SERVICE ACT 2003 Article
UNIVERSAL NATIONAL SERVICE ACT 2003 Article

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UNIVERSAL NATIONAL SERVICE ACT
On January 7, 2003,
1
Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), theranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee,
2
introducedthe Universal National Service Act of 2003 (the bill),
3
a bill requiringthat all young persons in the United Sates, including women, perform aperiod of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security.
4
This bill, like its identicalSenate counterpart introduced by Senator Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.),
5
man-dates compulsory national service for every citizen and every resident of the United States between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six.
6
The bill’senactment into law is unlikely given military and public opposition.
7
Thelast action taken on the bill occurred on February 3, 2003 when it wasreferred to the Subcommittee on Total Force.
8
Nevertheless, the bill is animportant symbolic effort to awaken the nation to the current racial com-position of America’s armed forces and to spur debate over the best wayto ensure that our country’s military burden is shared equitably.A law conscripting all young people into national service againsttheir will is not the answer to the racial imbalance in the military. Al-though the Uniform National Service Act would cure the problem of mi-nority overrepresentation by forcing all young people to enter nationalservice, the solution to a racial imbalance produced by the limited choicesavailable to minority youth should not be to limit the choices of everyyoung person. Instead, the economic prospects of non-minorities that inducethem to forego military service should be made available to all young peo-ple. At the same time, military and civilian national service should bemade more attractive so that more young Americans choose to serve vol-untarily. Increased pay and beneªts, better service conditions, and greatercandor from politicians considering military action may induce moreyoung elites to represent their county. These enhancements will also ren-der pride, rather than a lack of options, as the principal reason for minor-ity service. The men and women of our armed forces who choose to serveshould do so under conditions commensurate with the reverence with whichwe discuss their sacriªce. That sacriªce would be all the more selºess 
1
 
149
Cong. Rec.
H57 (daily ed. Jan. 7, 2003) (statement of Rep. Rangel).
2
 
The Ofªce of Charles B. Rangel, Committee on Ways & Means,
at 
http://rangel.house.gov/ways-means.html.
3
 
Universal National Service Act of 2003, H.R. 163, 108th Cong. (2003).
4
 
 Id.
5
 
Universal National Service Act of 2003, S. 89, 108th Cong. (2003).
6
 
H.R. 163, § 2(a).
7
 
See
 
Washington in Brief 
,
Wash. Post
, Jan. 8, 2003, at A5; CNN,
Poll: Young Not inStep with 30-Plus Crowd 
,
at 
http://us.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/28/elec04.rock.vote.poll/ (stating that 88% of voters under thirty years
 
of age oppose the draft compared with80% of voters above thirty years of age).
8
 
Bill Summary & Status of H.R. 163,
at 
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:HR00163:@@@L&summ2=m&.
 
338
 Harvard Journal on Legislation
[Vol. 41because no one would be forced to shoulder the responsibility. Therefore,although the Uniform National Service Act seeks a just end, it employserroneous means. A return to the draft is not the way to redress either theproblems faced by minorities that force them into military service or thereluctance of other young Americans to represent their country.The possibility of war with Iraq brought this debate over militaryservice to the center of the political stage, and Representative Rangelintroduced his bill in response to the impending war.
9
He wrote that “if we are going to send our children to war, the governing principle must bethat of shared sacriªce . . . . That’s why I will ask Congress next week toconsider and support legislation I will introduce to resume the militarydraft.”
10
War began two months later.
11
At that time, minorities consti-tuted about 30% of the enlisted force,
12
which is a higher percentage thantheir representation in the civilian population.
13
The percentage of mi-nority new recruits had reached 37% in 2000, up from 23% in 1973.
14
Bycontrast, white enlistment has decreased over time and whites serve atpercentages much lower than their representation in the civilian popula-tion.
15
These ªgures suggested that the impact of an Iraq war would befelt disproportionately by minorities, and Representative Rangel urged amore equal distribution of the burdens.
16
Representative Rangel admitted 
9
 
Charles B. Rangel,
 Bring Back the Draft 
,
N.Y. Times
, Dec. 31, 2002, at A19 (“Presi-dent Bush and his administration have declared a war against terrorism that may soon in-volve sending thousands of American troops into combat in Iraq.”).
10
 
 Id.
11
 
See, e.g.
, Dan Balz & Mike Allen,
‘No Outcome But Victory,’ Bush Vows; President Pledges Maximum Force and Warns Public of Difªculties
,
Wash. Post
, Mar. 20, 2003, atA1.
12
 
Inst. for Def. Analysis, Ofªce of the Sec’y of Def., Changes in Force Com-position
3 & ªg.3,
available at 
http://www.economics.osd.mil/force_comp_paper.pdf;
seealso
Steven Holmes,
The Nation: For Job and Country; Is This Really an All-Volunteer  Army?
,
N.Y. Times
, Apr. 6, 2003, § 4, at 1 (citing statistics showing that whites make up63% of enlisted military personnel but 70% of the civilian population; blacks make up 22%of enlisted personnel but 12% of the population; and Hispanics make up 9% of enlistedpersonnel and 13% of the population).
13
 
Inst. for Def. Analysis
,
supra
note 12, at 4 & ªg.4.
See also
Holmes,
supra
note12.
14
 
David M. Halbªnger & Steven A. Holmes,
 A Nation at War: The Troops; Military Mirrors a Working-Class America
,
N.Y. Times
, Mar. 30, 2003, at A1.
15
 
Inst. for Def. Analysis
,
supra
note 12, at 3–4.
16
 
Rangel,
supra
note 9. The war in Iraq required a large ground component suppliedby the Army.
See
Bradley Graham,
 Iraq Stabilization Impinges on Army Rotation, Re-building
,
Wash. Post
, June 6, 2003, at A21. The overrepresentation of minorities in thearmed forces is most pronounced in the Army. Halbªnger & Holmes,
supra
note 14(showing that Army males are 58% white, 26% black, and 9% Hispanic compared with70%, 11%, and 14% of the civilian population respectively, and that Army females are38% white, 46% black, and 9% Hispanic compared with 69%, 14%, and 12% of the civil-ian population respectively; that Navy males are 62% white, 19% black, and 10% His-panic, and that Navy females are 50% white, 31% black, and 11% Hispanic; Air Forcemales are 75% white, 16% black, and 5% Hispanic, and that Air Force females are 62%white, 28% black, and 6% Hispanic; that Marine males are 67% white, 16% black, and13% Hispanic, and that Marine females are 56% white, 23% black, and 16% Hispanic.).
 
2004]
 Recent Developments
339that he could not know which race of troops would suffer disproportion-ate casualties, but maintained that his principal contention was that allAmericans should sacriªce.
17
Ofªcial Department of Defense statisticsshowing the breakdown of casualties from the current Iraqi conºict werenot available at the publication of this Article.The Universal National Service Act would require all United Statesresidents between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six to perform a two-yearperiod of national service.
18
The period of national service would be per-formed either as a member of an active or reserve component of the uni-formed services or in a civilian capacity that promotes the national de-fense, including national or community service and homeland security, asdetermined by the President.
19
The President would also be responsiblefor determining the number of persons whose service would be in the mili-tary and for selecting the individuals to be inducted for military service.
20
The bill provides that the President may extend the period of mili-tary service with the consent of the serviceperson, for the purpose of fur-nishing medical care for maladies suffered in the line of duty, or “for thepurpose of requiring the serviceperson to compensate for any time lost totraining for any cause.”
21
The bill further provides for early terminationof the period of national service upon the “voluntary enlistment and ac-tive service of the person in an active or reserve component of the uni-formed services for a period of at least two years,” the “admission andservice of the person as a cadet or midshipman” in one of the militaryacademies, or the “enrollment and service of the person in an ofªcer can-didate program, if the person has signed an agreement to accept a Re-serve commission in the appropriate service with an obligation to serve.”
22
Deferments could be received by both high school students and by thosewho suffer extreme hardship or physical or mental disability.
23
The Presi-dent may postpone or suspend the induction of persons for military serviceas necessary to limit the number of persons receiving basic militarytraining and education to the maximum number that can be trained ade-quately.
24
The bill further provides that people selected for military serv- 
17
 
Charles B. Rangel,
 Race of Front-Line Troops Isn’t Real Issue
,
USA Today
, Jan. 27,2003, at 16A.
18
 
Universal National Service Act of 2003, H.R. 163, 108th Cong. §§ 2(a), 3(a) (2003).
19
 
 Id.
§ 2(b).
20
 
 Id.
§ 2(d). In order to assist implementation of the Act’s provisions, the bill empow-ers the President to “prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out the Act.”
 Id.
§ 4(a). The Act speciªes that such regulations include the types of civilian service satisfy-ing the national service obligation, standards for performing that civilian service, the man-ner in which persons shall be inducted and notiªed of their selection for induction, stan-dards for determining conscientious objection exemptions, and standards for compensationand beneªts.
 Id.
§ 4(b).
21
 
 Id.
§ 3(b).
22
 
 Id.
§ 3(c).
23
 
 Id 
. § 6(a)–(b).
24
 
 Id.
§ 6(c).

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