THE DRAFT….I’ve gotten lots of emails over the past few months about signs of activity from the Selective Service System and local draft boards, most of it speculating that it means Bush is preparing to reinstitute the draft. I haven’t paid much attention to this since preparing plans is perfectly normal for agencies like this ? they’re supposed to be prepared for possible emergencies ? and there’s not really any indication that anyone either inside or outside the military has any desire to move in this direction.

But this weekend I got an email from one of my old college roommates who says he’s been following the issue (“having a 16? year old son has sharpened my attention”) and pointing me to this story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The chief of the Selective Service System has proposed registering women for the military draft and requiring that young Americans regularly inform the government about whether they have training in niche specialties needed in the armed services.

The proposal, which the agency’s acting Director Lewis Brodsky presented to senior Pentagon officials just before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, also seeks to extend the age of draft registration to 34 years old, up from 25.

….Some of the skill areas where the armed forces are facing “critical shortages” include linguists and computer specialists, the agency said. Americans would then be required to regularly update the agency on their skills until they reach age 35.

Granted, this is just contingency planning from the SSS folks, but it’s still sort of interesting, isn’t it? Men and women. Ages 18-34. Special registration for those with computer or linguistic skills.

Personally, I still doubt this is anything more than normal agency planning. However, you may draw your own conclusions based on your own personal level of paranoia.