Students to soldiers: How selective service works


Michael Curran '20

All male citizens 18 and older must register for Selective Service, but there is currently no active draft, which is enrollment in the military.

Michael Curran '20, Staff Reporter

According to the Selective Service System, the mission of selective service is “To register men and maintain a system that, when authorized by the President and Congress, rapidly provides personnel in a fair and equitable manner while managing an alternative service program for conscientious objectors.”

The Selective Service also confirms that there is no active draft, so any message about being drafted was not sent by the Selective Service System or any other federal entity.

To clarify, the draft is the mandatory enrollment into the armed forces.

Almost all men ages 18-25 must register. Those who don’t register,won’t get any federal student aid, federal job training, and federal jobs. They could also get a fine as high as $250,000 and up to 5 years in prison.

“We need it for the war,” said Brendan Jordan ’20.

The last draft was in 1973 for the Vietnam War. That draft was met with lots of protests since protesters did not believe the war was a just cause.

The draft has six phases. The president and Congress authorize the draft. Then, the lottery starts, which is based on birthdays. After someone is drafted, he undergoes physical and mental evaluations. They decide whether or not he can fight in a war, and send a letter informing him of their decision. Next, first draftees are inducted.

People who are exempt from the draft are: Conscientious Objectors, Ministers, Ministerial students, people in hardship(taking care of someone else), certain elected officials, if someone in the family, like a sibling, has died in the military, only sons, veterans, immigrants and dual nationals, those with certain medical conditions, and women.

Some of these are very conditional. In extreme cases, a veteran might be drafted. This has never happened in the U.S., but in other countries they have lowered the age in some cases.

“A lot of countries have a required two years of service,” said AP Government teacher Jeff Isola ’98. “The U.S. does not have that, so I think it is kinda strange that people believe it’s unjustifiable.”