BVS Director Participates in Conference Call with Selective Service

Photo by MCC USA/Paul Schrag
Cassandra Costley (left), manager of the Alternative Service Program for the Selective Service System, speaking with Anabaptist leaders at a conference about alternative service in 2005. Over the years, Costley has met with and held conference calls with peace church leaders and organizations like Brethren Volunteer Service in order to prepare options for conscientious objection in the event of a draft.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) director Dan McFadden yesterday participated in a telephone conference call with the Selective Service System. The Selective Service System hosted the call to update participants about Alternative Service plans in the event that a military draft is ever called for by the US Congress.

The call was hosted by Cassandra Costley, manager of the Alternative Service Program for SSS.

At this point the SSS does not anticipate a draft, McFadden said. The Selective Service office hosts calls such as this a couple of times a year to stay in touch with the various groups that have interest in Alternative Service options in the event of a draft.

During the call, Costley announced that another memorandum of understanding with the SSS has been signed by the Church of God in Christ Mennonite. This is the eleventh group or denomination to sign an MOU. The Church of the Brethren signed an MOU with Selective Service in June 2010.

Yesterday’s┬ácall focused on becoming an alternative service employer. In the event of a draft the SSS will look to faith groups such as the Church of the Brethren and BVS to host alternative service workers for two-year placements. During the Korea and Vietnam wars BVS hosted alternative service workers and would do so again.

McFadden asked about the numbers Selective Service anticipates during any given year. Based on a 1984 study, Costley reported an estimated 30,000 young men a year would be looking for alternative service placements in the event of a military draft. She added that it is possible the numbers might have doubled since then.

BVS also participates in a conference call twice a year with Anabaptist groups and the Center on Conscience and War to stay in contact in the event that there is a draft.