UPDATE: Facts about the US military draft

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Courtesy: Macomb County

Following reports of Iran firing missiles at an Iraqi air base housing US troops, the website for the U.S. Selective Service System went down. This is the second time the website has been down in the month of January, the first was after the announcement that General Qassem Soleimani was killed in Baghdad during an airstrike.

The Selective Service System is an independent agency of the United States government that maintains information on those who could be drafted.

First, in the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the President would need to pass official legislation to authorize a draft.

The draft has not been used since the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

According to the Selective Service System, nearly all men in the country between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the agency.

That includes “U.S. born and naturalized citizens, parolees, undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, asylum seekers, refugees, and all males with visas of any kind which expired more than 30 days ago.”

Young men in hospitals or mental institutions do not have to register while they’re committed, but they must within 30 days of their release.

Men, who would be classified as conscientious objectors if they were drafted, must register with Selective Service. If a draft begins and they are called, they would have the opportunity to file a claim for exemption from military service based upon their religious or moral objection to war.

Women are not required to register for the selective service. The Selective Service law as it’s written now refers specifically to “male persons” in stating who must register and who would be drafted. For women to be required to register with Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law. A Supreme Court decision in 1981, Rostker v. Goldberg, held that registering only men did not violate the due process clause of the Constitution.

Individuals who are born female and changed their gender to male are not required to register. U.S. citizens or immigrants who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register.

Registration is not an automatic sign up for the military, but simply adds you to a database of potential recruits who could be called upon during a crisis.

If a draft were enacted, men would be called to serve in a lottery system based on their birth year and a random number assigned to them. Then they would be evaluated for “mental, physical, and moral fitness” before joining the Armed Forces.

To register if the website is down and you can not do it online, print and fill out the registration form:

Then mail it in to:
Selective Service System
P.O. Box 94739
Palatine, IL 60094-4739

Photo taken from PDF on Selective Service website

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