Selective Service System
Overview
 
The Selective Service System is a means by which the United States government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription
Conscription in the United States
Conscription in the United States has been employed several times, usually during war but also during the nominal peace of the Cold War...

. Most male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of their 18th birthday. As of the end of 2008, the names and addresses of over 14 million men are on file.

Registration for Selective Service is also required for various federal programs and benefits, including student loan
Student loan
A student loan is designed to help students pay for university tuition, books, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in education...

s, job training, federal employment, and naturalization
Naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

.

The Selective Service System provides the names of all registrants to the Joint Advertising Marketing Research & Studies (JAMRS
JAMRS
Joint Advertising Marketing Research & Studies is the organization formed by The Pentagon to oversee the development of a database of United States 16- to 25-year-olds, including name, address, email addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicity, social security numbers and area of study."The Selective...

) program for inclusion in the JAMRS Consolidated Recruitment Database.
Encyclopedia
The Selective Service System is a means by which the United States government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription
Conscription in the United States
Conscription in the United States has been employed several times, usually during war but also during the nominal peace of the Cold War...

. Most male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of their 18th birthday. As of the end of 2008, the names and addresses of over 14 million men are on file.

Registration for Selective Service is also required for various federal programs and benefits, including student loan
Student loan
A student loan is designed to help students pay for university tuition, books, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in education...

s, job training, federal employment, and naturalization
Naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

.

The Selective Service System provides the names of all registrants to the Joint Advertising Marketing Research & Studies (JAMRS
JAMRS
Joint Advertising Marketing Research & Studies is the organization formed by The Pentagon to oversee the development of a database of United States 16- to 25-year-olds, including name, address, email addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicity, social security numbers and area of study."The Selective...

) program for inclusion in the JAMRS Consolidated Recruitment Database. The names are distributed to the Services for recruiting purposes on a quarterly basis.

History

The Selective Service Act of 1917
Selective Service Act of 1917
The Selective Service Act or Selective Draft Act was passed by the Congress of the United States on May 18, 1917. It was envisioned in December 1916 and brought to President Woodrow Wilson's attention shortly after the break in relations with Germany in February 1917...

(40 Stat. 76) was passed by the 65th United States Congress
65th United States Congress
The Sixty-fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from March 4, 1917 to March 4, 1919, during the fourth and fifth...

 on May 18, 1917 creating the Selective Service System. The Act gave the President the power to conscript men for military service. All males aged 21 to 30 were required to register for military service for a service period of 12 months. As of mid-November 1917, all registrants were placed in one of five new classifications. Men in Class I were the first to be drafted, and men in lower classifications were deferred. Dependency deferments for registrants who were fathers or husbands were especially widespread. The age limit was later raised in August 1918 to a maximum age of 45. The military draft was discontinued in 1920.

The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940
Selective Training and Service Act of 1940
The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, also known as the Burke-Wadsworth Act, was passed by the Congress of the United States on September 17, 1940, becoming the first peacetime conscription in United States history when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law two days later...

was passed by the 76th United States Congress
76th United States Congress
The Seventy-sixth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1939 to January 3, 1941, during the seventh and...

 on September 16, 1940, establishing the first peacetime conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 in United States history. It required all males between the ages of 18 to 65 to register for Selective Service. It originally conscripted all males aged 21 to 36 for a service period of 12 months, but was later increased to males aged 18 to 45 for a military service period of 18 months. Upon declaration of war, the service period was extended to last the duration of the war plus a six-month service in the Organized Reserves.

The Selective Service System created by the 1940 Act was terminated by the Act of March 31, 1947, and the Selective Service Act of 1948
Selective Service Act of 1948
The Selective Service Act of 1948, also known as the Elston Act, , was a major revision of the Articles of War of the United States and established the current implementation of the Selective Service System...

created a new and separate system. All males 18 years and older had to register for Selective Service. All males between the ages of 19 to 26 were eligible to be drafted for a service requirement of 21 months. This was followed by a commitment for either 12 consecutive months of active service or 36 consecutive months of service in the reserves, with a statutory term of military service set at a minimum of five years total. Conscripts could volunteer for military service in the Regular Army for a term of four years or the Organized Reserves for a term of six years. Due to deep postwar budget cuts, only 100,000 conscripts were chosen in 1948. In 1950, the number of conscripts was greatly increased to meet the demands of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

.

The outbreak of the Korean War fostered the creation of the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951. This lowered the draft age from 19 to 18½, increased active-duty service time from 21 to 24 months, and set the statutory term of military service at a minimum of eight years. Students attending a college or training program full time could request an exemption, which was extended as long as they were students. A Universal Military Training clause was inserted that would have made all males obligated to perform 12 months of military service and training if the Act was amended by later legislation. Despite successive attempts over the next several years, however, such legislation was never passed.

President Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 set up Executive Order 11119 (signed on September 10, 1963), granting an exemption from conscription for married men between the ages of 19 and 26. President Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 later rescinded the exemption for married men without children by Executive Order 11241 (signed on August 26, 1965 and going into effect on midnight of that date). However, married men with children or other dependents and men married before the Executive Order went into effect were still exempt. President Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 revoked both of them with Executive Order 12553 (signed on February 25, 1986).

The Military Selective Service Act of 1967 expanded the ages of conscription to the ages of 18 to 35. It still granted student deferments, but ended them upon either the student's completion of a four-year degree or his 24th birthday, whichever came first.

On November 26, 1969 President Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 signed an amendment to the Military Selective Service Act of 1967 that established conscription based on random selection (lottery). The first "draft lottery
Draft lottery (1969)
On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service System of the United States conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call to military service in the Vietnam War for men born between 1944 and 1950...

" was held on December 1, 1969.

In 1971, the Military Selective Service Act of 1967 was further amended to make registration compulsory; all males had to register within a period 30 days before and 29 days after their 18th birthday. Registrants were classified 1-A (eligible for military service), 1-AO (Conscientious Objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 available for non-combatant military service), and 1-O (Conscientious Objector available for alternate community service). Student deferments were ended, except for Divinity students
Divinity School
Divinity School may refer to:* The common noun, divinity school* When used as a proper noun, may be an abbreviated reference to one of the following:** Beeson Divinity School** Berkeley Divinity School** Brite Divinity School...

, who received a 2-D Selective Service classification. Also, draft board membership requirements were reformed: minimum age of board members was dropped from 30 to 18, members over 65 or who had served on the board for 20 or more years had to retire, and membership had to proportionally reflect the ethnic and cultural makeup of their communities.

On January 27, 1973, Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird
Melvin R. Laird
Melvin Robert Laird is an American politician and writer. Laird was a Republican congressman who also served as Richard Nixon's Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973. Laird urged Nixon to maintain a policy of withdrawing US soldiers from Vietnam...

 announced the creation of an all-volunteer armed forces, negating the need for the military draft.

On March 29, 1975, President Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 signed Proclamation 4360, Terminating Registration Procedures Under Military Selective Service Act, eliminating the registration requirement for all 18–25 year old male citizens.

On July 2, 1980, however, President Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 signed Proclamation 4771, Registration Under the Military Selective Service Act, retroactively re-establishing the Selective Service registration requirement for all 18–26 year old male citizens born on or after January 1, 1960. Only men born between March 29, 1957, and December 31, 1959, were completely exempt from Selective Service registration.
The first registrations after Proclamation 4771 took place on Monday, July 21, 1980, for those men born in January, February and March 1960 at U.S. Post Offices
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays were reserved for men born in the later quarters of the year, and registration for men born in 1961 began the following week.

Who must register

Under current law, all male U.S. citizens are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. In addition, foreign males between the ages of 18 and 25 living in the United States must register. This includes permanent residents (holders of Green Cards), refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s, asylees, dual citizens, and illegal immigrants. Foreign males in the United States as lawful non-immigrants (international students, visitors, diplomats, etc.) are not required to register. Failure to register as required is grounds for denying a petition for US citizenship. Currently, citizens who are 17 and 3 months old can pre-register so when they turn 18 their information will automatically be added into the system.

In the current registration system a man cannot indicate that he is a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 (CO) to war when registering, but he can make such a claim when being drafted. Some men choose to write on the registration card "I am a conscientious objector to war" to document their conviction, even though the government will not have such a classification until there is a draft. Several religious, nonsectarian, and secular organizations allow conscientious objectors to file a written record stating their beliefs.

In 1987, Congress ordered the Selective Service System to put in place a system capable of drafting "persons qualified for practice or employment in a health care occupation
Health care provider
A health care provider is an individual or an institution that provides preventive, curative, promotional or rehabilitative health care services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities....

", if such a special-skills draft should be ordered by Congress. In response, Selective Service published plans for the "Health Care Personnel Delivery System" (HCPDS) in 1989 and has had them ready ever since. The concept underwent a preliminary field exercise in Fiscal Year 1998, followed by a more extensive nationwide readiness exercise in Fiscal Year 1999. The HCPDS plans include women and men age 20–54 in 57 job categories.

Men who were female at birth and have changed sex are not required to register. There is no consistent policy as to whether registration is allowed when not required. Failure to register can cause problems such as denial of Pell Grants, even when registration is not allowed.

Failure to register

In 1980, men who knew they were required to register and did not do so could face up to five years in jail or a fine up to $50,000 if convicted. The potential fine was later increased to $250,000. Despite these possible penalties, government records indicate that from 1980 through 1986 there were only 20 indictments, of which 19 were instigated in part by self-publicized and self-reported non-registration. As one of the elements of the offense, the government must prove that a violation of the Military Selective Service Act was knowing and willful. This is almost impossible unless the prospective defendant has publicly stated that he knew he was required to register or report for induction, or unless he has been visited by the FBI, personally served with notice to register or report for induction, and given another chance to comply. The last prosecution for non-registration was in January 1986, after which many believed the government declined to continue enforcing that law when it became apparent that the trials were themselves causing a decline in registration. Routine checks requiring identification virtually never include a request for draft card.

As an alternative method of encouraging registration, federal legislators passed laws requiring that to receive financial aid, federal grants and loans, certain government benefits, eligibility for most federal employment, and (if the person is an immigrant) eligibility for citizenship, a young man had to be registered (or had to have been registered, if they are over 26 but were required to register between 18 and 26) with Selective Service. Those who were required to register, but failed to do so before they turn 26, are no longer allowed to register, and thus may be permanently barred from federal jobs and other benefits, unless they can show to the Selective Service that their failure was not knowing and willful. There is a procedure to provide an "information letter" by the SSS for those in these situations, for example recent citizens who entered the US after their 26th birthday.

Most states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

, and Virgin Islands
United States Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands of the United States are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.The U.S...

, have passed laws requiring registration in order for men 18–25 to be eligible for programs that vary on a per-jurisdiction basis but typically include driver's licenses, state-funded higher education benefits, and state government jobs. Alaska also requires registration in order to receive an Alaska Permanent Fund
Alaska Permanent Fund
The Alaska Permanent Fund is a constitutionally established permanent fund, managed by a semi-independent corporation, established by Alaska in 1976, primarily by the efforts of then Governor Jay Hammond...

 dividend. Eight states (Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming) as well as Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 have no such requirements, though Indiana does give men 18–25 the option of registering with Selective Service when obtaining a drivers license or an identification card.

There are some third-party organized efforts to compensate financial aid for those students losing benefits, including the Fund for Education and Training (FEAT) and Student Aid Fund for Non-registrants.

Alien Registrant Status

Some registrants are not American citizens; they fall instead into one of the following categories:
  • Alien: A person who is not a citizen of the United States. They are defined in four classes.
    • A registrant who has resided in the United States for less than one year. When two or more periods of U.S. residency are involved which total one year or more, the registrant will be deemed to have resided in the United States for one year and will be ineligible for Class 4-C. In computing the length of such periods, any portion of one day shall be counted as a day. He will be eligible for this class only until he has resided in the United States for one year. To support this claim he must submit his Immigration and Naturalization Service Form 1-151 (Alien Registration Receipt Card)
      United States Permanent Resident Card
      United States lawful permanent residency refers to a person's immigration status: the person is authorized to live and work in the United States of America on a permanent basis....

      , showing his date of entry into the United States. If he has resided in the United States for two or more periods, he must furnish documentation for each period of residence. A registrant who receives this classification will be exempt from military training and service during his first year's residence in the US, but will become liable for service following his cumulative one year residence.
    • A registrant who left the United States before his Order to Report for Induction was issued and whose order has not been canceled. He may be classified in Class 4-C only for the period he resides outside of the United States. Upon his return to the United States, he must report the date of return and his current address to the Selective Service Area Office.
    • A registrant who registered at a time required by Selective Service law and thereafter acquired status within one of its groups of persons exempt from registration. He will be eligible for this class only during the period of his exempt status. To support this claim, the registrant must submit documentation from the diplomatic agency of the country of which he is a subject verifying his exempt status.
    • A registrant, lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined in Paragraph (2) of Section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (66 Stat. 163, 8 U.S.C. 1101) who, by reason of their occupational status, is subject to adjustment to nonimmigrant status under paragraph (15)(A), (15)(E), or (15)(G) or section 101(a). In this case, the person must also have executed a waiver of all rights, privileges, exemptions, and immunities which would otherwise accrue to him as a result of his occupational status. To support this claim, the registrant must submit documentation from the diplomatic agency of the country of which he is a subject verifying his occupational status.

  • Dual National: The person is a citizen of both the United States and another country at the same time. The country must be one that allows its citizens Dual-Citizenship and the registrant must be able to obtain and produce the proper papers to affirm this status.

  • Treaty Alien: Due to a treaty or international arrangement with the alien's country of origin, the registrant can choose to be ineligible for military training and service in the armed forces of the United States. However, once this exemption is taken, he can never apply for US citizenship and may become inadmissible to reenter the USA after leaving unless he already served in the Armed Forces of a foreign country of which the alien was a national. Nevertheless, an alien who establishes clear and convincing evidence of certain factors may still override this kind of bar to naturalization.

Legal issues

The Selective Service System is authorized by the Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 which says Congress "shall have Power To ... raise and support Armies [and] To provide and maintain a Navy;" The Selective Service Act
Selective Service Act
Selective Service Act may refer to:* Selective Service Act of 1917, or Selective Draft Act, which was passed by the Congress of the United States on May 18, 1917. It was for men to go to WWI at a young age....

 was the law which established the Selective Service System under these provisions.

Still, the act has been challenged in light of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On...

 which prohibits "involuntary servitude
Involuntary servitude
Involuntary servitude is a United States legal and constitutional term for a person laboring against that person's will to benefit another, under some form of coercion other than the worker's financial needs...

." These challenges, however, have not been supported by the courts; as the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 stated in Butler v. Perry (1916):
The amendment was adopted with reference to conditions existing since the foundation of our government, and the term 'involuntary servitude' was intended to cover those forms of compulsory labor akin to African slavery which, in practical operation, would tend to produce like undesirable results. It introduced no novel doctrine with respect of services always treated as exceptional, and certainly was not intended to interdict enforcement of those duties which individuals owe to the state, such as services in the army, militia, on the jury, etc.


During the First World War, the Supreme Court ruled in Arver v. United States (1918) that draft did not violate the Constitution.

Later, during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, a lower appellate court
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

 also concluded that the draft was constitutional in United States v. Holmes (1968).

Exemption of women

Currently, the law exempts women from registration. The issue of women being exempted was addressed and approved in 1981 by the United States Supreme Court in Rostker v. Goldberg
Rostker v. Goldberg
Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 , was a decision of the United States Supreme Court holding that the practice of requiring only men to register for the draft was constitutional....

, with the Court holding "The existence of the combat restrictions clearly indicates the basis for Congress' decision to exempt women from registration. The purpose of registration was to prepare for a draft of combat troops. Since women are excluded from combat, Congress concluded that they would not be needed in the event of a draft, and therefore decided not to register them."

At the request of President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, the Department of Defense reviewed the issue, but concluded that the exclusion remains justifiable in light of past draft results.

Structure and operation

The Selective Service System is an independent federal agency
Independent agencies of the United States government
Independent agencies of the United States federal government are those agencies that exist outside of the federal executive departments...

 within the Executive Branch
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 of the Federal government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

.

The Director of the Selective Service System reports directly to the President of the United States of America.

During peacetime the agency comprises a National Headquarters, three Regional Headquarters and a Data Management Center. During a mobilization (draft), the agency would greatly expand by activating an additional 56 State Headquarters, 400+ Area Offices as well as 40+ Alternative Service Offices.

Mobilization (draft) procedures

The description below is for a general draft. Different procedures would be followed for a special-skills draft, such as activation of the Health Care Personnel Delivery System (HCPDS).
  1. Congress and the President authorize a draft: The president claims a crisis has occurred which requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply. Congress passes and the President signs legislation which revises the Military Selective Service Act to initiate a draft for military manpower.
  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 the calendar year the induction takes place, followed, if needed, by those aged 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 19 and 18 year olds (in that order).
  3. All parts of the Selective Service System are activated: The Agency activates and orders its State Directors and Reserve Force Officers to report for duty.
  4. Physical, mental and moral evaluation of registrants: Registrants with low lottery numbers receive examination orders and are ordered to report for a physical, mental, and moral evaluation at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) 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 begin processing registrant claims/appeals. Those who passed 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.

Lottery procedures

If the agency were to mobilize and conduct a draft, a lottery would be held in full view of the public. This would be covered by mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

. First, all days of the year are placed into a capsule at random. Second, the numbers 1–365 (1–366 for lotteries held with respect to a leap year
Leap year
A leap year is a year containing one extra day in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year...

) are placed into a second capsule. These two capsules are certified for procedure, sealed in a drum, and stored.

In the event of a draft, the drums are taken out of storage and inspected to make sure they have not been tampered with. The lottery then takes place, and each date is paired with a number at random. For example, if January 16 is picked from the "date" capsule and the number 59 picked from the "number" capsule, all men of age 20 born on January 16 will be the 59th group to receive induction notices. This process continues until all dates are matched with a number.

Should all dates be used, the Selective Service will then conscript men at the age of 20, then 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. Men ages 18 and 19 are not likely to be inducted to the system. Once all dates are paired, the dates will be sent to Selective Service System's Data Management Center.

Classifications


If a draft were held, local boards would classify registrants to determine whether they were exempt from military service. According to US Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

 Title 32, Chapter XVI, Sec. 1630.2, men would be sorted into the following categories:
Class Categories (1948–1975)
1-A Available for unrestricted military service.
1-A-O Conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 available for noncombatant military service only.
1-C Member of the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

, or the Public Health Service. (Enl.) Enlisted. Member who volunteered for service, (Ind.) Inducted. Member who was conscripted into service, (Dis.) Discharged. Member released after completing service. (Sep.) Separated. Member released before completing service.
1-D Members of a reserve component (Reserves
United States Army Reserve
The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

 or National Guard), students taking military training (ROTC), or accepted Aviation Cadet
Flight Cadet
A flight cadet is a military or civilian occupational title that is held by someone who is in training to operate an airplane. The trainee does not need to become a pilot, as flight cadets may also learn to serve as a co-pilot, navigator, or flight engineer....

 applicants (1942–1961).
1-D-D Deferment for certain members of a reserve component or student taking military training.
1-D-E Exemption of certain members of a reserve component or student taking military training.
1-H Registrant Not Subject to Processing for Induction. Registrant is not subject to processing for induction until a draft is enacted. All current registrants are classified 1-H until they reach the age of exemption. They then receive the classification of 5-A.
1-O Conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 to all military service. A registrant must establish to the satisfaction of the board that his request for exemption from combatant and noncombatant military training and service in the Armed Forces is based upon moral, ethical or religious beliefs which play a significant role in his life and that his objection to participation in war is not confined to a particular war.
1-O-S Conscientious objector to all military service (separated). A registrant separated from the Armed Forces due to objection to participation in both combatant and noncombatant training and service in the Armed Forces. The registrant is still required to serve in alternative service.
1-S (H) Student deferred by statute (High School). Induction can be deferred either until graduation or until reaching the age of 20.
1-S (C) Student deferred by statute (College). Induction can be deferred either to the end of the student's current semester if an undergraduate or until the end of the academic year if a Senior.
1-W Conscientious objector ordered to perform alternative service
Alternative service
Alternative service is a form of national service performed in lieu of conscription for various reasons, such as conscientious objection, inadequate health, or political reasons. See "labour battalion" for examples of the latter case...

.
Registrant available for military service, but qualified only in case of war or national emergency. Usually given to registrants with medical conditions that were limiting but not disabling (examples: high blood pressure, mild muscular or skeletal injuries or disorders, skin disorders, severe allergies, etc.). Class was discontinued in December, 1971 and its members were reclassified as 4-F.
2-A Registrant deferred because of civilian occupation (non-agricultural).
2-B Registrant deferred because of occupation in a war industry: (Defense contractor
Defense contractor
A defense contractor is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military department of a government. Products typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems...

 or reserved occupation
Reserved occupation
A reserved occupation is an occupation considered important enough to a country that those serving in such occupations are exempt - in fact forbidden - from military service....

).
2-C Registrant deferred because of agricultural occupation.
2-D Registrant deferred because of study preparing for the ministry. Deferment lasted either until graduation or until the registrant reached the age of 24. Exemption was created in December, 1971. Previously considered part of Class 4-D.
2-S Registrant deferred because of collegiate study. Deferment lasted either until graduation or until the registrant reached the age of 24. Exemption was discontinued in December, 1971.
3-A Registrant deferred because of hardship to dependents.
3-A-S Registrant deferred because of hardship to dependents (Separated). Current serving member or registrant undergoing induction separated from military service due to a change in family status. The registrant's deferment can last no longer than six months, after which they may re-file if the hardship continues to exist.
4-A Registrant who has completed military service.
4-A-A Registrant who has performed military service for a foreign nation.
4-B Official deferred by law.
4-C Alien or dual national.
4-D Minister of religion.
4-E Conscientious objector opposed to both combatant and noncombatant training and service. Alternative service in lieu of induction may still be required.
Registrant not acceptable for military service. To be eligible for Class 4-F, a registrant must have been found not qualified for service in the Armed Forces by a Military Entrance Processing Station
United States Military Entrance Processing Command
The United States Military Entrance Processing Command is a Major Command of the Department of Defense, which screens and processes applicants into the United States Armed Forces...

 (MEPS) under the established physical, mental, or moral standards. The standards of physical fitness that would be used in a future draft would come from AR 40-501.
4-G Registrant exempted from service because of the death of a parent or sibling while serving in the Armed Forces
Killed in action
Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

 or whose parent or sibling has Prisoner of War
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 or Missing In Action
Missing in action
Missing in action is a casualty Category assigned under the Status of Missing to armed services personnel who are reported missing during active service. They may have been killed, wounded, become a prisoner of war, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave can be positively...

 status.
4-T Treaty Alien.
4-W Registrant or conscientious objector who has completed alternative service in lieu of induction.
5-A Registrant who is over either the age of liability (26) or (where applicable) the previous deferment age of liability (35)

Directors

Director Tenure Appointed by
1. Clarence Addison Dykstra
Clarence Addison Dykstra
Clarence Addison Dykstra was a U.S. administrator of Dutch descent. He served as the first City Manager in the US in Cincinnati, Ohio after teaching government at the University of Chicago. He then became Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin as well as director of the Selective Service...

1940-10-15 – 1941-04-01 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

2. Lewis Blaine Hershey
Lewis Blaine Hershey
Lewis Blaine Hershey was a United States Army four-star general who served as the second Director of the Selective Service System, the means by which the United States administers its military conscription.-Early life:...

1941-07-31 – 1970-02-15 Franklin D. Roosevelt
|DeEe Ingold 1970-02-15 – 1970-04-06 (Acting)
3. Dr. Curtis W. Tarr
Curtis W. Tarr
Curtis William Tarr was the seventh dean of the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and the twelfth president of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Tarr took his B.A. from Leland Stanford Jr. University, his M.B.A. from Harvard University and returned to...

1970-04-06 – 1972-05-01 Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

|Byron V. Pepitone 1972-05-01 – 1973-04-01 (Acting)
4. Byron V. Pepitone 1973-04-02 – 1977-07-31 Richard Nixon
|Robert E. Shuck 1977-08-01 – 1979-11-25 (Acting)
5. Bernard D. Rostker
Bernard D. Rostker
Bernard Daniel Rostker was Director of the United States Selective Service System from 1977 to 1979; Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1994 to 1998; Under Secretary of the Army from 1998 to 2000; and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in 2000-2001...

1979-11-26 – 1981-07-31 Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

|Dr. James G. Bond 1981-08-01 – 1981-10-30 (Acting)
6. Thomas K. Turnage 1981-10-30 – 1986-03-23 Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

|Wilfred L. Ebel 1986-03-24 – 1987-07-08 (Acting)
|Jerry D. Jennings 1987-07-09 – 1987-12-17 (Acting)
7. Samuel K. Lessey Jr. 1987-12-18 – 1991-03-07 Ronald Reagan
8. Robert W. Gambino 1991-03-08 – 1994-01-31 George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

|G. Huntington Banister 1994-02-01 – 1994-10-06 (Acting)
9. Gil Coronado 1994-10-07 – 2001-05-23 Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

10. Alfred V. Rascon
Alfred V. Rascon
Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Rascon was a medic in the United States Army who received the Medal of Honor—the United States' highest military decoration—for his actions near Long Khánh Province during the Vietnam War...

2001-05-24 – 2003-01-02 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

|Lewis C. Brodsky 2003-01-03 – 2004-04-28 (Acting)
|Jack Martin 2004-04-29 – 2004-11-28 (Acting)
11. William A. Chatfield
William A. Chatfield
William Austin Chatfield is an American government executive and lobbyist who served as the 11th Director of Selective Service from November 29, 2004, having been nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate...

 
2004-11-29 – 2009-05-29 George W. Bush
|Ernest E. Garcia 2009-05-29 – 2009-12-04 (Acting)
12. Lawrence Romo
Lawrence Romo
Lawrence Romo is an American senior civil servant and former United States Air Force Officer. He is the current director of the Selective Service System.-Early life and education:...

 
2009-12-04 – present Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...


See also

  • Civilian Public Service
    Civilian Public Service
    The Civilian Public Service provided conscientious objectors in the United States an alternative to military service during World War II...

  • Conscription in the United States
    Conscription in the United States
    Conscription in the United States has been employed several times, usually during war but also during the nominal peace of the Cold War...

  • Draft-card burning
    Draft-card burning
    Draft-card burning was a symbol of protest performed by thousands of young American men as part of the opposition to the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. Beginning in May 1964, some activists burned their draft cards at anti-war rallies and demonstrations. By May 1965 it was...

  • Draft dodging
  • Lodge-Philbin Act
    Lodge-Philbin Act
    The Lodge-Philbin Act was a U.S. law, passed on 30 June 1950, which allowed for the recruiting of foreign nationals into a military force fighting under the command of the U.S. armed forces. The Act permitted initially up to 2,500 non-resident aliens to enlist...

    of 1950

External links

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