What is the Selective Service System?
The Selective Service System is an independent federal agency operating with permanent authorization under the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.). It is not part of the Department of Defense; however, it exists to serve the emergency manpower needs of the Military by conscripting untrained manpower, or personnel with professional health care skills, if directed by Congress and the President in a national crisis. Its statutory missions also include being ready to administer an alternative service program, in lieu of military service for men classified as conscientious objectors.
The Selective Service System is America's proven and time-tested hedge against underestimating the number of active duty and Reserve Component military personnel needed in a future conflict. In peacetime, the Agency is minimally staffed and heavily dependent upon part-time personnel and volunteers throughout the United States to keep viable the Nation's ability to conduct a draft that would be timely, fair, and equitable in a crisis. As a part of that readiness, virtually all men in the U.S. are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Men must be registered to be in compliance with federal law and stay eligible for student loans and grants, government jobs, job training, all security background clearances, and U.S. citizenship for immigrants.
Today, the Selective Service System continues to satisfy its statutory obligations while providing the only time-tested mechanism to backup the all-volunteer military when needed.
On November 29, 2004, Mr. William A. Chatfield became the 11th Director of Selective Service having been nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.