Rantingprofs: has an entry on the rumors of a military draft coming. Rumors started by mostly democrats (politicians, pundits, and activists) in an attempt to undermine the current administration by scaring some of the populace into supporting them.
Aside from the fisking Professor Dauber paints on her blog there is one other argument that rarely gets play anywhere. Less than twenty years ago we had an all-volunteer military almost twice the size of what it is now. It's at it's current size because of the ever-present lust for money in the government. Then it was called "the peace dividend" by people never realizing that the dividend of peace is peace itself not dismantling the tool that gained that peace.
So we could easily double, if not triple, the size of our military with a volunteer force. It would cost money, as it would with the draft, and it would cost many years of re-building the training infrastructure, recruit, train and to have GIs gain the experience of today's troops. All of that would be necessary with a draft, though the last would be much more difficult with a draft, since draftees are less likely to re-enlist and more likely to take their skills and experience away from the military.
In 1986 the US Air Force had 20 year E-5s. Sure they were never going to be senior NCOs, but they had skill and experience in their jobs that isn't quite there anymore. We had 9 year E-4s who were skilled at their craft, but who weren't going to be going up very far in the military hierarchy. During the great military purge of the 1990's things changed.
By the middle of the 1990's it no longer mattered whether you were tops in your field, what mattered was how well you did on NCO exams that had little to do with your craft. Performance reports still tended to be inflated, and some of it was based more on Squadron participation in car washes than on whether the airman was competent in his craft. So we're at a point where the technical skills and abilities have suffered somewhat because once an airman gets his journeyman level (four to five years in the 80's) he's only got another five years or so of useful trade before he's promoted out of a job he does well. There aren't that many master sergeants bucking rivets unless it's to make up for a manpower deficiency.
Also, for some technical skills in the Air Force you don't really gain competency until after you've been at the same trade for six to eight years which means that unless an airman. Say an aircraft metals technologist, enlists, goes to an abbreviated tech school, necessitating far more OJT (on the job training) he/she still doesn't really have the skill and experience to be a journeyman. At the end of their four year term they don't have the experience, though the exceptionally mechanically inclined may have the skill, to finally be of journeyman level, despite what their 623 says. Three or four years down the road (which most draftees won't ever do) that airman may have the experience to be at a level that the civilian craft sector would consider journeyman level. Then after a few years later that airman stops being a line-airman technician, turning parts on a lathe, welding flameholders, and soldering intake screens, and becomes a supervisor level NCO.
Big waste of time, money, skill and experience, and a weakening of the Air Force's ability.
PS: Damn you internet, Damn you bloggers, I should have been asleep several hours ago (12 hour shifts, remember) especially since tomorrow looks like a hard day in the sun.