In July of 2008 we heard then candidate Barack Obama calling for a Civilian Security Force to supplement the military. Senator Obama said, “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
The administration’s National Security Strategy, which was released at the end of May, says “Our diplomatic personnel and missions must be expanded at home and abroad to support the increasingly transnational nature of 21st century security challenges,” the National Security Strategy states, “and we must provide the appropriate authorities and mechanisms to implement and coordinate assistance programs and grow the civilian expeditionary capacity required to assist governments on a diverse array of issues.”
During his recent town hall meeting in Racine, Wisconsin, President Obama spoke about the civilian expeditionary force within his National Security Strategy.
“We just got to be smart about using all the elements of American power, not just one element of American power,” he said. “The problem is — is that we don’t have a civilian effort that has always matched up to the military effort. So the military goes in there, they clear out everything, they’re — they’re making everything secure, and now the question is, all right, can we get the civilians to come in to work with the local governments to improve the situation? And a lot of times that civilian side of it has been under-resourced.”
On July 15, Rep Charlie Rangel introduced H.R. 5741, the Universal National Service Act stating on the floor of the House of Representatives, “I have introduced legislation to reinstate the draft and to make it permanent during time of war. It is H.R. 5741, and what this does is to make everyone between the ages of 18 and 42 – whether they’re men or women, whether they’re straight or gay – to have the opportunity to defend this great country whenever the president truly believes that our national security is threatened.”
Congressman Rangel has introduced similar bills in 2003, 2006 and 2007, but with the current administration calling for a Civilian Security Force in addition to the military, this bill could very well be one that passes during the lame duck session.
As Rangel stated, this bill will change the current federal laws for registration with Selective Service to include everyone between ages 18-42 whether they are men or women. Keeping in mind that you can only get financing for college through the U.S. government now and that you are required by law to be registered with the Selective Service bureau to be eligible for student loans, this law has an even broader effect.