Signing up for Selective Service: what does it mean, and how do you do it?

Trisha Khattar, Staff Writer

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As threat of what the internet took to call “World War 3” passes and the highly broadcasted tensions between the United States and Iran deescalate, more and more attention falls on the Selective Service and its role in the everyday lives of Americans, including the students of Amador. 

“From what I understand, if there’s ever a draft, I think men from the ages of 18 to 39 or 45 have to sign up for selective service and can be drafted in times of war,” says Aayush Singh (‘20)

Defined as an “independent agency of the United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription,” the Selective Service requires almost every man who is a citizen or an immigrant living in the US between the ages of 18 and 25 to register. 

Within the context of the events of the past couple of weeks, there has been an extreme amount of interest in whether there was going to be a draft, a flood of concerned citizens even crashing the official website for the Selective Service System. The agency spoke up on twitter and attributed it to the “spread of misinformation,” and reiterated that there was no military draft. 

So while this process does not directly relate to Amador Valley teenagers, or teenagers in general under the age of 18, when a global threat emerges and the populace panics the way it did just a couple of weeks ago, it becomes clear that we should be more aware and informed of this database.

“I think that people should be educated on what the draft is, because every 18 year old has to register. People should know what it is and what they’re signing up for, and to be educated enough to question that process if they need to,” said Amador Social Studies teacher, Hailey Baldwin.

There are several ways to sign up for selective service, as the official website reports. Some include, registering online, getting a form from the postal office, and finding out if Amador has a teacher or staff member designated as a Selective Service registrar who can help. 

“For people who might be between the time gap for selective service, might worry about it more because maybe they don’t know how to sign up and they haven’t and they might be afraid that there might be consequences because they haven’t done it yet,” said Andrew Li (‘21).

Li is correct. There are penalties and punishments for those who fail to sign up 30 days before or after their 18th birthday. You could be prosecuted and pay a fine of up to $250,000 and/or jail time of up to five years. If you’re an immigrant to the U.S, you will not be eligible for citizenship.

The Selective Service itself was established in 1917, during the end of World War I, the first modern where there was a need for soldiers on the front line. 

 “It’s been a very controversial thing, especially with Vietnam. Today, big controversies about the draft include whether or not women should be included in the draft,” said Baldwin.

Controversies aside, the Selective Service is an important part of American history, especially during times of national distress, and it is incredibly important for teenagers and young adults across the country to know exactly what it is and understand the process.