Selective Service System

Outline of a PowerPoint Presentation
by George Desnoyers

February 2006


1. The Selective Service System and YOU

2. What is the Selective Service System?

The Selective Service System:

3. So, you think there is nothing to worry about.  After all, you say, “We don’t have a draft.”



4. Why don’t women have to register?


5.      If they don’t have to register, why should women care about Selective Service?


6. Some of the questions this presentation will cover:


7. Who must register?  

8. The exceptions: Who does NOT have to register?

HOWEVER, if a young man leaves the full-time active duty military, one of the military academies, a hospital, or a prison, before turning 26, he must register.


9. What does Selective Service tell 18-year-olds about registering?


10. What ELSE does Selective Service tell 18-year-old males about registering?

       Register within 30 days of turning 18 or else you will be facing


11. What penalties could I face if I fail to register with Selective Service?

      Men must be registered:

12. Is there any other penalty for not registering?

      If you do not register, you could be prosecuted and fined up to $250,000
      and/or be put in jail for up to five years.

Between 1980 and 1986, twenty men were prosecuted for failing to register. (Nineteen had been indicted as a result of self-publicizing or self-reporting their failures to register.)


Approximately half went to jail for about six months. The others received probation.

13. How many prosecutions have there been since 1986?

Since Jan. 1986, at least several hundreds of thousands of men have failed to register, but there have been NO prosecutions.


In recent years the Selective Service System has been relying on the lesser penalties, such as the loss of student loans.


But, it should be kept in mind that Selective Service could resume prosecutions for failure to register at any time.


 14. Registration compliance as of the end of 2003

Men 18 to 25 years old -- 93 percent

Men 20 to 25 years old -- 95.4 percent


Number of names on file for men 18 to 25 years old -- About 13.5 million


       What’s the trend in compliance?

The 93 percent compliance rate at the end of 2003 was 2 percent higher than at the end of 2002.


15. Why has compliance increased?

(1) enactment in some states and territories of laws requiring registration with Selective Service to obtain a driver’s license, permit, or ID card;

(2) increased use of on-line registration via the Selective Service System’s website;

(3) emphasis on volunteer SSS high school registrars;

(4) additional mailings to states (i.e., California and New York) having the lowest compliance, and nationwide to 19-year-old men who had not registered; and

(5) public service broadcast messages in English and Spanish, and outreach efforts to educational and community leaders and groups.


16. What does Selective Service NOT tell 18-year-olds about registering?


17. What ELSE does Selective Service fail to mention?


18. What’s an example of how Selective Service treats men unfairly?


19. How else does Selective Service treat men unfairly?   

20. Is forcing people to fight in a war a relatively new idea?


21. History of Selective Service in the 20th Century


22. and 23. Drafts Due to Major 20th Century Conflicts


                            Major Conflict                      Number Drafted


WW I -- Sept. 1917 - Nov. 1918                   2,810,296

WW II -- Nov. 1940 - Oct. 1946                   10,110,104

Korea -- June 1950 - June 1953               1,529,539

Vietnam -- Aug 1964- Feb 1973               1,857,304

                                                                            16,307,243 (92%)


               Total Men Drafted in the 20th Century
               (September 1917 through June 1973)



24. What recent events have increased the likelihood of a reinstated draft?


25. What is classification?


26. What are some examples of classifications?

27. How could I learn about ALL the classifications other than 1-A?



28. How do exemptions differ from deferments and postponements?


29. How many “Active” classifications will there be that will result in the person serving
      actively in some capacity?

When the classification system is put in place, there will be three “Active” classifications that will result in the men so classified serving actively in some capacity.


30. What are the three “Active” classifications?


31. You said there is no classification program now. But I already know that I am a
       conscientious objector. I
absolutely refuse to participate in war in any form. Why
       can’t I claim my conscientious objector status now?


You CAN claim you are a conscientious objector now. And, later in this presentation, I will be advising you both to do that, as well as why and how to do that.


But, the Selective Service will not recognize your claim now. At the present time, it is not authorized to classify men.


32. When would Congress and the President reinstate the draft?

As soon as there is a national crisis that produces a need for military manpower beyond the level that can be obtained by an all-volunteer force.


      How long would it take the President and Congress to activate a draft?

If Congress was in session, and the crisis was severe, the President and Congress could reinstate the draft in less than a day. There is always contingency legislation to reinstate the draft on the shelf and ready to be used.

 33. What would happen next?

Soon after the President and Congress act to reinstate the draft, a lottery would be held.  Each day of the year would randomly be matched with a number, from 1 to 365 (1 to 366 if the lottery was held for a leap year).  The number assigned to your birthday in the lottery would be called your “RSN” (for “random sequence number”).

34. What do you mean by “soon after?” How long after the President and Congress reinstate
       the draft would it take to conduct the lottery?


It could easily be done in one day, and some people expect that.


But a better guess is that the lottery would be conducted one or two weeks after the President and Congress act to reinstate the draft. That would allow for advertising and better media coverage which would be beneficial in assuring the public that the lottery is fair.


35. Could the lottery be delayed much longer than that?
That depends. Selective Service has TWO broad mobilization
       (“draft”) plans:




36. Could the lottery be delayed much longer than that? – Cont’d.

For example, under RIPS, the lottery could be delayed if there were a proposal before Congress to make a significant change in the way the draft is conducted. But that would be unlikely to happen in the face of a crisis, especially a severe one.


It could also be delayed under RIPS as long as the Secretary of Defense had not formally asked Selective Service to deliver inductees to the military.


According to current plans, under RIPS, Selective Service must deliver the first inductees to the military within 193 days after reinstatement of the draft. That should not be difficult for Selective Service.


37. What age group will be the first to be inducted?


38. What’s the structure of Selective Service as a registrant may have to deal with it?

The term “Area Office” refers to those who administer the Selective Service System within an area.


The “Local Board” has a much narrower function, that of deciding which registrants receive deferments, exemptions, and postponements based upon circumstances and beliefs of claimants.


Selective Service also has “Appeal Boards” that hear appeals of decisions made by the Area Offices or Local Boards.


39. Is the “Local Board” the same as the “Draft Board” I’ve heard about?

Yes, the Local Board is often referred to as the “Draft Board” or the “Local Draft Board.”


(Sometimes people loosely include the Area Office in what they refer to as the “Draft Board” since both the Area Office and Local Board are involved in assigning draft classifications.)


Each Local 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 exemptions from military service based on the individual registrant's circumstances and beliefs.


40. How are people appointed to a Local Board?

Members are appointed to a Local Board by the Director of Selective Service in the name of the President, on recommendations made by their respective state governors or an equivalent public official.  If you are interested in serving as a Local Board member, you may apply on-line for an application package at the Selective Service website.


41. What are the qualifications to serve on a Local Board?
Some requirements to be a Local Board member are that you:



42. How could I get on the Local Board?

You can request that an application for membership on the Local Board be sent to you.  Under the “Key Information” section of the Selective Service System’s website (, click on the link “Board Member Application.”  A form will be displayed on which you will need to provide your name, address, and telephone number.


43. How could I get on the Local Board? – Cont’d.

Okay, so I fill out the form; then what?


When you click the “Submit” button, you will receive a confirmation that the information you entered was received at the Selective Service System’s secure server.  You should then receive within a reasonable period of time an application for board membership, a business reply envelope, and a Board Member Information Booklet that gives details on Board Member responsibilities.  Once you have completed and mailed your Potential Board Member Application Form 404, a Selective Service employee will contact you to schedule a personal interview.


44. Are local draft boards active during peacetime?

Yes! The Board Member program is one of the primary components of the Selective Service System. Over 11,000 volunteers are currently trained in Selective Service regulations and procedures so that if a draft is reinstated, they will be able to fulfill their obligations fairly and equitably. Board members undergo an initial 8-hour training session and then participate in annual training in which they review sample cases similar to real-life situations.


45. If the draft is reinstated, what would be the first thing that would begin to happen to

      registrants following the lottery?

Registrants with low random sequence numbers (RSNs) will be the first to be called in a draft. They would receive letters telling them that they must report to a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) for an evaluation of their fitness to serve in the U.S. military.


46. What else would the letter telling me to report to MEPS for a fitness evaluation do?


47. Exactly what does the MEPS fitness evaluation cover?

Basically, It covers the registrant’s physical, mental, and moral fitness to serve in the U.S. military.


You should go to such an examination prepared to speak about your health history. You may want to review your health records before you go.


Some reasons for disqualifying a person from military service may not become apparent to the doctor during the physical examination and should be brought to the doctor’s attention by the registrant.


48. What happens to a person who is found to be unfit for military service at his MEPS

A registrant found to be unqualified for military service under established physical, mental,
or moral standards is classified as 4-F and is not inducted into the Armed Forces.


49. Does the “Information for Registrants Booklet” have ALL the information I should have
       before I go to MEPS for my examination?

Probably not. For many people it doesn’t even come close to providing all the information they would need.


For example, although the booklet tells you that exemptions can be given for disabling physical/mental health reasons, it doesn’t tell you the health conditions that would disqualify someone from military service.


50. Would the fitness standards presently in AR 40-501 definitely serve as the fitness standards
       in a future draft?



51. Where could I get that information?

There are hundreds of disqualifying conditions listed in the Army Medical Standards, AR 40-501, Chapter 2.  Unless you see the list, or talk with someone about the list, you would not know what disqualifying medical conditions you may have.


Remember, there is a vast difference between what you think is disabling in civilian life and what the Army believes is disqualifying for enlistment, appointment, or induction into the military.


If you don’t know that you have a condition that the Army considers disqualifying, you may not call the examiner’s attention to something he/she ought to know.


52. Why else should I learn about the medical conditions the Army considers to be disqualifying?

After your MEPS evaluation, if you still do not know what medical conditions are considered disqualifying by the military, you would not be able to file a claim for an exemption you should be entitled to.


In order to file a claim for a 4-F classification after having been found fit at MEPS, you would have to be very well prepared. According to present rules, under RIPS, the Local Office could decide administratively to not allow such a claim.


53. Wouldn’t the examiner at MEPS discover my disabling condition?

If the Army performed its examination in compliance with the
Army Medical Standards in AR 40-501, about 50% of examinees
would fail the test.


Unfortunately the Army does NOT conduct its examination that thoroughly.


And since most people do not know which conditions the Army believes are disqualifying, disqualifying conditions often remain unknown to examiners and many people have been accepted into military service who shouldn’t have been. Current practices would most likely not be improved under the pressures of a reinstated draft. 


54. Besides the “Information for Registrants Booklet,” and learning about the medical conditions
       the Army lists as disqualifying in
Army Medical Standards, AR 40-501, how else could I get
       information I might need?




55. When would I file a claim for reclassification from class 1-A?



56. If I file a written claim with my Area Office for reclassification as a conscientious objector
      before my reporting date, should I still report to the MEPS for the evaluation?

According to SSS Form 252, you should NOT report to the MEPS after you have filed a written claim for postponement or reclassification with your Area Office of Selective Service.


57. Suppose I make a claim for 1-O status before I go to the MEPS for an evaluation, and my
       claim is denied. What would my options be?


      Your options at that point would be:


58. If I want to make claims for classifications other than 1-A after my MEPS evaluation, would
      the “Notice of Acceptability” I receive following my evaluation at MEPS tell me all the
      Selective Service classifications

No! Just as before your evaluation at MEPS, the burden will still be on you to consider your own circumstances and beliefs, and to find out what classifications might be available to accommodate them. Start by studying the “Information for Registrants Booklet” mentioned earlier.


59. Do the administrators at Area Offices ever grant deferments, exemptions, or postponements,
       or are they always only decided by the Local Board?

Most kinds of claims for new classifications are easy to decide, and changes in the registrants’ classifications in those cases are made or denied by administrators in
Area Offices. These are referred to as “administrative classifications.”


Other kinds of claims, such as claims of conscientious objection (1-A-O or 1-O), are more difficult to judge, and the merits of those are always decided by Local Boards trained to
do that. These are referred to as “judgmental classifications.”


60. What other kinds of claims are always decided by a Local Board?

Besides 1-A-O and 1-O, claims for these additional “judgmental classifications” must also
be decided by the Local Board, subject to appeal:



61. If my claim is decided by the Local Board, do I appear before them?


62. What could I do if the Area Office administratively denied my claim?

A registrant may ask the Local Board to review a claim for student postponement or reclassification that was administratively denied by the Area Office.

The registrant may also ask to appear before his Local Board during its review of the claim.


A request to have the Local Board review the Area Office’s decision on a claim is not considered a part of the Selective Service System’s appeal process. That process formally begins when an appeal is made to a District Appeal Board.


63. You mean, if I don’t like a decision of my Area Office or Local Board, I can appeal to another

Yes! A registrant may appeal a decision of his Area Office or Local Board to a District Appeal Board. That’s considered the first line of appeal.


If the decision of the District Appeal Board is not unanimous, the registrant may appeal further, up to the President through the National Appeal Board. 


64. Can all decisions of an Area Office or Local Board be appealed to a District Appeal Board?

            No, decisions on some kinds of claims cannot be appealed.


A registrant will be told whether he has the right to appeal a decision when he is notified of the decision.


If there is a right to appeal, the registrant will be given instructions as to how it must be done, and a time limit for filing the appeal.

65. Suppose I want to make claims for changes in classification after I’ve received a “Notice of
       Acceptability” following my examination at MEPS. How would I begin?



66. What would happen after I tell the Area Office in writing that I wish to file a claim (or claims)
       for reclassification?




67. SSS Form 8 (Used with RIPS)


68. Critical Part of SSS Form 8


69. Would the Area Office always send out SSS Form 8?



70. SSS Form 9 (Used with RIMS)


71. Reverse Side of SSS Form 9 (Directions)


72. Critical Part of SSS Form 9


73. Are there any tricky things about SSS Form 8 that I should know?

74. Are there any tricky things about SSS Form 8 that I should know? – Cont’d.

             That’s because Form 8 is designed for use only after registrants have been found acceptable
          for military service at their MEPS evaluations.



75. What happens after I return Form 8, notifying the Area Office of ALL the kinds of claims for
       reclassification I want to file?

The Area Office would send you all the forms necessary to make the claim for each kind of reclassification that you checked off on SSS Form 8. For example, if you checked “Conscientious objector” on Form 8, you would be sent SSS Form 22 which is used to file a conscientious objection claim.


Again, be sure to follow all the time limits. You would be given
10 days or less to return the completed forms and supporting documentation for ALL your claims.


76. Page I of SSS Form 22 (Used with RIPS and RIMS)


77. Page 2 of SSS Form 22 (Used with RIPS and RIMS)


78. SSS Form 22 – Top Part of Page 1


79. SSS Form 22 – Bottom Part of Page 1


80. SSS Form 22 – Top Part of Page 2


81. SSS Form 22 – Bottom Part of Page 2


82. What problems am I likely to have with those forms?


83. It doesn’t seem right that someone could follow all the correct procedures and then not have
      enough time to document his claim(s).

84. Suppose I have been given an induction date at the time I received my “Notice of
       Acceptability,” or while claims I’ve filed for reclassification are still being considered.
       Should I report for induction?

A registrant who files claims for changes in his classification to the Area Office does
have to follow an instruction to report for induction or military training until ALL
his claims – and any appeals he files - have been decided.


85. The End