Selective Service System

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The Selective Service System manages "the Draft".

The Vision statement, as stated in its Annual Performance Plan Fiscal Year 2004 (April 2003), is to "be a true partner in the national preparedness community that anticipates and responds to the changing needs of its customers."

Together with volunteer recruitment and the outsourcing of assignments to Private Military Corporations, the Selective Service System provides the military with manpower, and with varying degrees of contention, womanpower, by the compulsory enrollment (conscription or drafting), of healthy 18-24 year olds into the armed forces.

According to the Department of Defense web site defendamerica.mil on 22 September 2003:

"The Selective Service System wants to hear from men and women in the community who might be willing to serve as members of a local draft board."

As recorded in the Memory Hole, where the original page has been archived, "In early November, that notice started to receive media attention, with articles from the Associated Press, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Oregonian, the Toronto Star, the BBC, and London Guardian (unsurprisingly, none of the major papers or networks in the US covered it). In a familiar turn of events, the notice suddenly disappeared from the Website."

The replacement page is a standard 404 Error page; not a statement declaring appreciation for your interest and an announcement that all the previously advertised positions have been filled.

By January 2004, the front page of the Selective Service website displayed a request for new board members "to compensate for natural board attrition".


A Selective Service Local Board (i.e. "draft board") is a group of five citizen volunteers whose mission, upon a draft, will be to decide who among the registrants in their community will receive deferments, postponements, or exemption from military service based on the individual registrant's circumstances and beliefs. [1]


"Completion of this application will be considered as proof of your consent to be registered with the Selective Service System per the requirements of Federal and State Law. If you decline to register, your application for a driver license, learner's permit or ID card will be denied." [2] at a DMV facility in NC

"Under a new [Arizona] state law that takes effect Jan. 1, men between 18 and 25 will be automatically registered for selective service whenever they apply for driver's licenses or state identification cards. The change will make Arizona one of 30 or so states with similar compulsory sign-ups for draft age men."[3]


By Sean Cockerham, Anchorage Daily News, December 27, 2003:

JUNEAU -- Alaska men between 18 and 25, stand at attention: Selective Service registration will now be a requirement to get a Permanent Fund check.

Starting Jan. 1, state law will demand that Alaskans be listed with federal Selective Service to get the dividend. The state plans to forward information from the dividend applications to the federal government, which will automatically register the eligible Alaska males who haven't already signed up.

Under federal law, men are supposed to register with the Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18. Failure to register is technically punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000. But a lot of people don't do it.


From "Voluntary No More?" by Lawrence J. Korb, October 29, 2003, Center for American Progress:

As a recent survey of U.S. troops in Stars and Stripes, the Pentagon-funded newspaper, Iraq makes clear, the Bush administration's approach to waging war in Iraq risks severe damage to the all volunteer military. In the survey of nearly 2,000 troops, approximately one-third complained that the war in Iraq was of little or no value and that their mission lacked clear definition. And 40 percent said that their goals had little or nothing to do with their training.

Most ominously, about half of the soldiers indicated they would not re-enlist when their tours end and the Pentagon lifts the "stop-loss order" which prevents them from getting out any earlier. If that occurs it will take at least a decade to bring the military back to its prewar readiness standards.


"It reflects the fact that the military is too small, which nobody wants to admit," said Charles Moskos of Northwestern University, a leading military sociologist.

"To the Pentagon, stop-loss orders are a finger in the dike -- a tool to halt the hemorrhage of personnel, and maximize cohesion and experience, for units in the field in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Through a series of stop-loss orders, the Army alone has blocked the possible retirements and departures of more than 40,000 soldiers, about 16,000 of them National Guard and reserve members who were eligible to leave the service this year." [4]


2004 March 15: Several reports that "The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages. The Selective Service System has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it and the lawmakers agree to such a requestâ?¦." [5]


Related SourceWatch articles

External Resources

Government Documents

  • HR 3598 Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001
  • Universal National Service Act of 2003, introduced to the 108th Congress on 7 January 2003 as H.R.163 to reinstate the draft
  • Annual Performance Plan - 2004
    • The performance goals for FY 2004 include
      • 3. Prepare and conduct an Area Office Prototype Exercise which tests the activation process from SSS Lottery input to the issuance of the first Armed Forces Examination Orders.
  • --HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS BEFORE THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES November 21, 2003 [6]
    • "plans are being made to drastically expand the human cost by forcing conscription on the young men (and maybe women) who have no ax to grind with the Iraqi people and want no part of this fight."
    • "the draft will likely be reinstated."