Many people browsing our site have been interested in Selective Service System, or military draft.  Inquiries included how the system works, registration requirements, exceptions, and many more.  This article is dedicated to providing factual information about the United States Selective Service System.  A few key details have changed since the Vietnam War.

    

To begin, all male U.S. citizens, and resident aliens, must register with the Selective Service System.  This includes people with dual citizenship, and illegal aliens.  The registration is required to be completed between 30 days before and 30 days after the registrant’s 18th birthday. 

If the need for additional military manpower arises, the following sequence of events will ensue:

1. CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZE A DRAFT
A crisis occurs which requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply. Congress passes and the President signs legislation which starts a draft.

2. THE LOTTERY
A lottery based on birthdays determines the order in which registered men are called up by Selective Service. The first to be called, in a sequence determined by the lottery, will be men whose 20th birthday falls during that year, followed, if needed, by those aged 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. 18-year-olds and those turning 19 would probably not be drafted.

3. ALL PARTS OF SELECTIVE SERVICE ARE ACTIVATED
The Agency activates and orders its State Directors and Reserve Forces Officers to report for duty.

4. PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND MORAL EVALUATION OF REGISTRANTS
Registrants with low lottery numbers are ordered to report for a physical, mental, and moral evaluation at a Military Entrance Processing Station to determine whether they are fit for military service. Once he is notified of the results of the evaluation, a registrant will be given 10 days to file a claim for exemption, postponement, or deferment.

5. LOCAL AND APPEAL BOARDS ACTIVATED AND INDUCTION NOTICES SENT
Local and Appeal Boards will process registrant claims. Those who pass the military evaluation will receive induction orders. An inductee will have 10 days to report to a local Military Entrance Processing Station for induction.

6. FIRST DRAFTEES ARE INDUCTED
According to current plans, Selective Service must deliver the first inductees to the military within 193 days from the onset of a crisis

A key change since the Vietnam War is the policy on education exemptions.  The SSS notes:

Under the current draft law, a college student can have his induction postponed only until the end of the current semester. A senior can be postponed until the end of the academic year.

As a final note, women are not included in the draft process and are not required to register.


References:

U.S. Selective Services System
http://www.sss.gov

Military Draft and War
http://homepages.wmich.edu/~b1kolack/Web%20page%20link%201.htm

Selective Service System – Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Service_System