Military Draft

Selective Service Registration

The Selective Service System is tasked with preparing to manage a military draft if and when Congress and the President so direct. The Selective Service System has not received such an order, but will maintain its readiness as required by law. If and when the Congress and the President reinstate a military draft, the Selective Service System would conduct a National Draft Lottery to determine the order in which young men would be drafted. According to the Selective Service System, almost all male U.S. citizens regardless of where they live, and male immigrant aliens residing in the U.S., are required to be registered with Selective Service if they are at least 18 years old but are not yet 26 years old. Complete information at the Selective Service System Web site

Note for Undocumented (Illegal) Aliens

If you are a man ages 18 through 25 and living in the U.S., then you must register with Selective Service. It’s the law. You can register at any U.S. Post Office and do not need a social security number. When you do obtain a social security number, let Selective Service know. Provide a copy of your new social security number card; being sure to include your complete name, date of birth, Selective Service registration number, and current mailing address; and mail to the Selective Service System, P.O. Box 94636, Palatine, IL 60094-4636.

Be sure to register before your 26th birthday. After that, it’s too late!

Selective Service does not collect any information which would indicate whether or not you are undocumented. You want to protect yourself for future U.S. citizenship and other government benefits and programs by registering with Selective Service.

Request Information About Joining

Brief Overview of a Military Draft

Here is a brief overview of what would occur if the United States returned to a military 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.

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.

The Agency activates and orders its State Directors and Reserve Forces Officers to report for duty.

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.

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.

According to current plans, Selective Service must deliver the first inductees to the military within 193 days from the onset of a crisis.
Backdoor Draft

“Backdoor draft” is a term used to suggest the US Military is already effectively conducting a military draft through Stop-Loss, IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) activation and reserve activation. (Stop-Loss is a US Military directive to extend the enlistments of military personnel deemed critical to unit cohesiveness.) But such extensions and activations are covered in contracts that service members sign upon enlistment. The only surprise is that in this War on Terror the military has actually used these provisions.
Last Draft

In 1973, the draft ended and the U.S. converted to an all-volunteer military. According to the Selective Service System, “the registration requirement was suspended in April 1975. It was resumed again in 1980 by President Carter in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Registration continues today as a hedge against underestimating the number of servicemen needed in a future crisis.”
Future Draft?

It would be prudent to say the US Military does not want a military draft, as motivated volunteers are much more desirable than reluctant conscripts.

Currently, the US Military is meeting many if not all recruiting goals. Though the situation in Iraq has prompted some to decide against joining the military, there are many patriotic Americans who are deciding to contribute to the War on Terror.

However, a military draft might be necessary if the US Military is drawn into a third front (Iraq, Afghanistan, and ?). For example, an armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula would likely involve large numbers of American military personnel and a protracted situation could necessitate a draft.

Additionally, a “limited” military draft might be necessary if the US Military has future recruiting difficulties. But this is unlikely since the military has recruiting inducements available, including enlistment bonuses, to fill recruiting shortcomings.

Here at we love the military, so we are somewhat biased about military service. We believe that every able-bodied young American male, and every female who so desires, should serve their country through military service. See our Joining the Military page to see why!