Culture

Draft Age and the Selective Service System

Jan 5 2020 By Asbin Ghimire

The minimum age bar set by the government to get into the army is termed as Draft Age. As an individual reaches the age of 18, there arise many concerns in the mind and hearts of parents. Many of the parents believe that the process seems quite patriotic, while others think of the possibility of losing their son.

During 1917, the citizens who used to fail to register after reaching the draft, they would have punished by law. The article below talks about the draft age, the requirements, and the Selective Service System.

Signing Up for a Draft

All male U.S citizens are required to register their names within 30 days from their 18th birthday, according to the United States government. Men from other nationalities in the United States who are non-immigrants like visitors, international students, and diplomats may not register as long as they remain that way.

If the foreigners’ non-immigrant status expires while still within the States, then he must register. A person falling under the age group or criteria must notify the Selective Service System within 10 ten days of any change in their address and registration cards. Failure to do so would create hindrance in getting U.S. citizenship.

Young people worried about SSS and draft
Young people worried about SSS and draft
Image Source: Headtopics

Citizens who are about 17 years and 3 months of age can pre-register for the Selective Service System. When they turn 18, their personal information will be automatically updated in the system.

When did the concept of Draft Age or Selective Service System Start?

The U.S. Congress passed the Selective Service Act of 1917 on 18th May 1917, after their declaration of war against Germany. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Act into law after the United States Army failed to meet their expected 1 million men after six weeks.

As per the act, men between the age group of 21 and 30 were required to enlist their names for military service and serve the United State for a year. The age limit was increased to 45 in August 1918.

Selective Service System
The logo of Selective Service System, Wikipedia

The Military Selective Service Act of 1967 amended the act and the draft age to be between 18-55. It was revised in 1980 and the new amendment stated the age for drafting into the military service to be 18-25.

Later, in December 2019, Representatives Rodney Davis and Peter DeFazio introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Military Service Act. The Bill emphasizes in abolishing the Selective Service System.

Consequences of Missing Draft Age

Men who didn’t sign up for military during the 1980s faced 5 years of imprisonment and an additional $50,000 fine. The penalty increased to $250,000 later. However, there have been no reports of prosecution after 1986 and in 1988, the Department of Justice and Selective Service suspended all cases of prosecutions of non-registrants.

The U.S. military system now operates on a voluntary basis. People interested in pursuing a military career may only register their names for the service. The U.S. Government gives financial aids, federal grants/loans, and federal jobs to encourage people to join the army. For serving the military, the immigrants are offered citizenship.


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