Programmers and The Draft : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I am a software engineer involved in embedded systems work. I would be interested in your opinion on how likely a draft of programmers and software engineers sometime next year would be? Given that such a thing would be entirely a PR stunt and would likely have a negative effect on remediation, it does not strike me as impossible. Will the public demand such action from the gov't? How would something like that be organized? What do you think?

-- Franklin Journier (, November 23, 1998


Can't see it happening. The quality of work they would get from that would not be worth the hassle of overseeing it.

-- Craig (, November 23, 1998. rdYear2000/Topbanner/550

The Preamble of EO 12656, in Section 101(a) defines a "national security emergency" as,

"... any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States."

"Develop plans and issue guidance to ensure effective use of civilian work force resources during national security emergencies." (EO 12656)

I leave up to your interpretation.

Best regards,


-- Anna McKay Ginn (, November 23, 1998.

# # # 19981123

This would certainly prove to be a draft in futility. I was ( young and ) stupid enough to fall ( the first time ) for evading the draft during the Vietnam era -- by volunteering. ( Arrgghhh! )

Once stung, second time ... No way!

No government coercion -- short of torture and assured destruction of my family ( Would they? ... Could they? ... You bet they would/could! ) -- can force mental activity. Give them the silence ( non- performance ) treatment!

It might well be the final act of defiance. Well worth it, I say. Killing intellects, leaves more conforming sheep!

My US$0.02 ...

Regards, Bob Mangus # # #

-- Robert Mangus (, November 23, 1998.

Any major crisis could authorize our president to run our nation virtually unopposed from the White House.

For example, EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 alone gives authorization to activate all the other executive Orders in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis. Ponder the power other EO's would grant to our President during an ongoing crisis:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13010 grants the government authority to "protect" (resolve physical or cyber threats to) these critical infrastructures:

telecommunications, electrical power systems, gas and oil storage and transportation, banking and finance, transportation, water supply systems, emergency services (including medical, police, fire, and rescue), and continuity of government.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13011 created a massive new bureaucracy linking all U.S. federal departments and agencies with international and non-governmental organizations, and authorized it to manage "Federal Information Technology."

Finally, if EXECUTIVE ORDER 13083 is allowed to stand, it would effectively abolish the 10th Amendment and revoke state and local authority whenever they hinder federal regulatory goals.

uh...did they leave anything out?

In one of these EO's, I distinctly remember reading that "consultants" (read programmers) could be hired at no pay and separated from there family. Doesn't get much gloomier than that...I bet they don't even have a Pepsi machine.

-- a (a@a.a), November 23, 1998.

Question for Franklin, how many non-compliant embedded systems have you found, would they have caused real malfunctions. Answer - draft unlikely and too late anyway. It could not be organised in time to be effective anyway, I suppose that wouldn't stop them doing it!

-- Richard Dale (, November 24, 1998.

Unless we had widespread power outages and multiple failures of major banks it wouldn't happen. If we did, it will. I pointed out some time ago that if the lights go out in NYC on 1/1/00, the knock on the door will come for a lot of us. And yes, the govt. has almost unlimited authority during a national emergency - the govt. was set up that way from the beginning.

-- Paul Davis (, November 24, 1998.

it wouldn't be tough to organise a draft. the government would request lists of graduates of certain programs from all the colleges and universities, plus transcripts if necessary. they would also request lists from software and hardware companies, of everyone who has taken certification classes, etc etc. then keep this info on hand just in case it's needed. it may have already been done, or is being done, as it's easy to do ahead of time, and is considered "prudent planning".

-- Jocelyne Slough (, November 24, 1998.

To Richard,

The controllers in my company's don't have any real-time clocks on board so we don't have any Y2K non-compliance. One subsidiary of ours does have a few problems but they're not serious. Nevertheless, I'm extremely concerned about the embedded controller problems, both because there are numerous processes that do use RTCs and have Y2K sensitivities and also because I know firsthand how difficult it is to debug these systems, especially if you didn't do the original programming.

-- Franklin Journier (, November 24, 1998.

Couldn't happen. For such a drastic action to be taken in 1999 would mean admitting there's a huge problem that can't be fixed any other way. This would certainly provoke runs on the banks, collapse of the stock market, etc. After 1999, the more such action is needed, the more impossible the problem itself will make it.

-- Ned (, November 24, 1998.

Ned has a good point. Once word got out about this, I bet a lot of programmers would bug out FAST in order to avoid the draft...most likely the most talented ones that the government wants in the first place.

Or, lessay I got hauled in. How would they motivate me to work, after I've been separated from my home, possibly my family? Will they have dudes pointing rifles at the back of our necks, or would they offer food and shelter?

Unless each programmer was thoroughly screened, a handful of savvy but ticked off programmers could do some serious sabotage here, possibly irreparable.

-- Tim (, November 24, 1998.

I'm pulling up some responses from the duplicate thread:


It strikes me as unlikely, if only because of the massive effort involved in coordinating such a thing. To whom would these people report? How would they be assigned to projects? How would they be brought up to speed on their designated projects without totally blowing an already blown schedule? It's not a trivial thing to instigate a draft, even in the face of a military threat. Would the public really be up for such a thing in the face of something as relatively intangible as Y2K? That being said, I'm very perplexed at the Clinton administration's total silence on Y2K. It seems sinister enough to me and they may have some rather nasty power grabs in mind, but I don't know that they would be planning something as sweeping as a draft, especially in a time-rame as tight as the last 12 months before the calendar rolls over.

ITFWIWD ("In the 'For What It's Worth, Department'" as my father used to say).

Answered by David Palm ( on November 23, 1998. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

However, they (generically) in the Clinton-Gore administration believe in the hearts that "bigger government is the way to salvation" - they hate, fear, and distrust capitalism - in any form - with a fervor and religious passion, and so are mentally already prepared to try a "draft" - gulag, concentration camp; more like it - rather than let businesses hire who they need when they need them. More likely, just massive nationalization of "critical utilities and services." Also a given, confiscation of firearms by FEMA (under the emergency clauses).

Answered by Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) ( on November 23, 1998. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

The Clinton-Gore administration "hate, fear, and distrust capitalism - in any form - with a fervor and religious passion"?? Yah, sure, Robert, that's why the stock market been in the tank every year since Clinton took office. Down, down, down, ...

Answered by Stock Marketeeer ( on November 23, 1998.

-- Franklin Journier (, November 24, 1998.

The market is responding to them, but the retirement money and insurance being paid in from the baby boom generation and WWII generation.

Regardless, it didn't start substantially rising until the Repub's got elected in late '94 and started taking the pressure off the deficit, so if you wish to grant credit to anybody in DC - which you shouldn't - credit the Republican Congress.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, November 24, 1998.

There are several reasons the stock market has done well.

1. "The family budget" (government spending) has been trimmed. Thank the Republicans.

2. "The family income" (taxes) has went up. Thank the Democrats. (Bills have to be paid, one way or another).

3. We saw the world as ripe for capitalism since the Berlin Wall came down.

4. Information technology has made companies feel as if productivity gains will go on forever.

This all reminds me too much of the late 1920s, though. Too much faith that "Coolidge Prosperity," assembly lines, automobiles, and an economy with 0% inflation meant that the business cycle had been repealed.

-- Kevin (, November 24, 1998.

Thanks Franklin, good news and bad news it seems. I suppose engineering is as much of a mystery to me as business systems are to Joe Q Public. Is that right Deedah or do you say John Doe, or Fred Everyman or John Smith or Jack Man-In-The-Street. PS what does the "Q" stand for.

-- Richard Dale (, November 25, 1998.

I think there's a couple more reasons the stock market is so high: 1. They've been cooking the books since about 1960 2. Mutual funds are inflating the prices

What's the cash value of a mutual fund when there's no cash? Also, if there's no electricity, there won't be any computers, even at the gummint level. No electricity-no computers-no Postal Service. So: How are they going to notify programmers they've been drafted? Send around the knee-breaking guys in the cammo suits?

-- Liz pavek (, November 29, 1998.

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