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Representative Mike Coffman

Representing the 6th District of COLORADO

Coffman Introduces Legislation to Abolish Selective Service

Feb 11, 2016
Press Release
Repeals outdated system and saves taxpayers $24 million annually

(Washington, DC) - Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) along with Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), and Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced legislation to abolish the Selective Service System. 

The Selective Service System is an independent agency within the United States government that maintains a database on all males between 18 and 25 years of age in case conscription is needed.  The system costs taxpayers an estimated $23 million a year. 

“Maintaining the Selective Service simply makes no sense. In 1973, the last draftee entered the Army and since then, despite the first Gulf War and subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has never considered reinstituting the draft,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran.  “Our all-volunteer military has given us the most elite fighting force in the history of this country.”      

The draft ended in 1973 with the last of the draftees finishing their two year obligated service commitment in the U.S. Army in 1975.  After the draft ended, the Selective Service System was disbanded and the requirement for 18 year olds to register was ended.  However, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter reinstituted the Selective Service System and the requirement for all 18 year olds to register for the draft following the invasion of Afghanistan in December of 1979 by the former Soviet Union.  The requirement remains in effect today despite the fact that the Pentagon has never requested a return to the draft despite the first Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concludes that if the Selective Service were called into action and mobilization was necessary, the agency would be unable to satisfy the statutory objective of providing inductees to the Department of Defense within 193 days and the agency’s budget would increase to more than $450 million.

“Not only will abolishing the selective service save the U.S. taxpayers money, it will remove an undue burden on our nation’s young people,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “We haven’t utilized the draft since 1973, yet young men who don’t register for the selective service are still penalized by the U.S. government, particularly with regards to their federal student loans. We need to get rid of this mean-spirited and outdated system and trust that if the need should arise Americans – both male and female – will answer the call to defend our nation.“ 

"Conscription will not save us money in the national defense and it is not consistent with America's best tradition of freedom and liberty,” said Rep. Rohrabacher.

“Now that women are eligible to serve in combat roles and Congress debates how to proceed on the issue of draft inclusion, we should consider a full draft repeal of the draft and the abolition of the Selective Service,” said Coffman.

Coffman, a Gulf and Iraq War veteran, has a combined 21 years of military service between the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, and both reserve components.

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