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Draft Not Necessary, Says Congressman Skelton

September 18, 2001
By: Amanda Joyce
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The only Missouri member of the House Armed Services Committee said Tuesday the state's draft-age men may not be called to action to fight a war on terrorism.

U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton, D-4th, told a news conference that a nationwide draft probably will not be necessary.

"This is not a force-on-force type of conflict," Skelton said.

Skelton, is the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee with close ties to the U.S. military. He said Missouri reserves could be expected to be called into service at any time, but that the draft would likely not be needed.

"This is an intelligence-a surgical type of conflict at best," Skelton said. "You do need all of the aspects working together. Whether it be infantry, special forces, fighter aircraft-all of them have to be prepared to do whatever it takes."

As a member of the House committee, Skelton said he has been involved with terrorism research. He first requested that the General Accounting Office conduct a series of studies on terrorism in 1997.

Skelton said that since then, he has been urging the government to conduct more research and more gather more intelligence on terrorists. Last March, he introduced a bill which made six specific recommendations to improve security against terrorism.

The recommendations included designating a single U.S. official to be responsible for security against terrorism, improving medical response and capability, and developing a strategy for identifying threats.

Skelton's office said the most recent study by the GAO will be released tomorrow.