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Contact: John Gentzel, Communications Director, 202-225-4315

Rep. Gerlach joins in rejecting military draft legislation

Washington, Oct 5, 2004 - Rep. Jim Gerlach joined his House colleagues Tuesday in overwhelmingly rejecting H.R. 163, a bill requiring all young persons in the United States perform a period of military service. The bill, introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and cosponsored by 14 Democratic House members, was defeated 402-2.

“This puts an end to Internet rumors and other irresponsible comments by numerous Democrats of an impending draft,” said Rep. Jim Gerlach. “We have a well-trained, experienced and resilient volunteer force and no one, including me, is advocating the reinstatement of the draft in any form.”

The recent call for additional combat capability in Iraq and Afghanistan to conduct the global war on terror has fueled misconceptions that the United States will need to reinstate the draft to perform its military missions. There is only one reason that would justify conscription: if the military were unable to recruit enough volunteers to meet its personnel needs. This is not the case. Needed military personnel strength increases can be achieved through the existing recruitment and retention system.

Identical legislation (S. 89) was also introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), however, it is not expected to be taken up for debate.

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