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SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

Here is a brief overview of what would occur if the United States returned to a draft:

1. CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZE A DRAFT
A crisis occurs which requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply. Congress passes and the President signs legislation which starts a draft.

2. THE LOTTERY
A lottery based on birthdays determines the order in which registered men are called up by Selective Service. The first to be called, in a sequence determined by the lottery, will be men whose 20th birthday falls during that year, followed, if needed, by those aged 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. 18-year-olds and those turning 19 would probably not be drafted.

3. ALL PARTS OF SELECTIVE SERVICE ARE ACTIVATED
The Agency activates and orders its State Directors and Reserve Forces Officers to report for duty. See also Agency Structure.

4. PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND MORAL EVALUATION OF REGISTRANTS
Registrants with low lottery numbers are ordered to report for a physical, mental, and moral evaluation at a Military Entrance Processing Station to determine whether they are fit for military service. Once he is notified of the results of the evaluation, a registrant will be given 10 days to file a claim for exemption, postponement, or deferment. See also Classifications.

5. LOCAL AND APPEAL BOARDS ACTIVATED AND INDUCTION NOTICES SENT
Local and Appeal Boards will process registrant claims. Those who pass the military evaluation will receive induction orders. An inductee will have 10 days to report to a local Military Entrance Processing Station for induction.

6. FIRST DRAFTEES ARE INDUCTED
According to current plans, Selective Service must deliver the first inductees to the military within 193 days from the onset of a crisis.
SELECTIVE SERVICE LOTTERY

If and when the Congress and the President reinstate a military draft, the Selective Service System would conduct a National Draft Lottery to determine the order in which young men would be drafted.

The lottery would establish the priority of call based on the birth dates of registrants. The first men drafted would be those turning age 20 during the calendar year of the lottery. For example, if a draft were held in 1998, those men born in 1978 would be considered first. If a young man turns 21 in the year of the draft, he would be in the second priority, in turning 22 he would be in the third priority, and so forth until the year in which he turns 26 at which time he is over the age of liability. Younger men would not be called in that year until men in the 20-25 age group are called.

Because of the enormous impact of this lottery, it would be conducted publicly, with full coverage by the media. Accredited observers from public interest groups will have full access to observe the proceedings.

To make the lottery as fair as possible, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a unique random calendar and number selection program for Selective Service. Using this random selection method for birthdays, each day of the year is selected by computer in a random manner, and that date is placed in a capsule. The capsules are then loaded in a large drum on a random basis. By the same method, numbers from 1 to 365 (366 for men born in a leap year) are also selected in a random fashion, placed in capsules, and the capsules are placed into a second drum. The process, repeated a second time, results in two sets of drums. Official observers certify that the capsule-filling and drum-loading were conducted according to established procedures. This certification is secured to each drum; they are sealed and placed in secure storage. Should a lottery be conducted, one of the first actions would be an inspection of these stored drums and the selection of a set to be used in the lottery.

Here is how the lottery would work: One capsule is drawn from the drum containing birth dates January 1 through December 31. One capsule is then drawn from the drum containing the sequence numbers from 1 through 365 (366 if the draft will call men born during a leap year) and the date and number are paired to establish the sequence number for each birth date. This is done in full view of all observers, officials, and the media.

For example, if the date of August 4 is drawn first from the "date" drum, and the sequence number of 32 is drawn from the "number's" drum at the same time, then those men turning 20 on August 4 would be ordered for induction processing only after men whose birthdays drew sequence numbers 1 through 31. The drawings continue until all 365 (or 366) birthdays of the year are paired with a sequence number.

After the lottery is completed and results certified, the sequence of call is transmitted to the Selective Service System's Data Management Center. Almost immediately the first induction notices are prepared and sent via mailgram to men whose birth dates drew the lowest lottery numbers.

This system, based on random selection of birth dates, with the order of priority for reporting assigned in a scientifically random manner, is a fair and equitable method of calling men to serve.
CLASSIFICATIONS

Men are not classified now. Classification is the process of determining who is available for military service and who is deferred or exempted. Classifications are based on each individual registrant's circumstances and beliefs. A classification program would go into effect when Congress and the President decide to resume a draft. Then, men who are qualified for induction would have the opportunity to file a claim for exemptions, deferments, and postponements from military service. Here is a list of some, though not all, classifications and what they mean:

1-A - available immediately for military service.
1-O Conscientious Objector- conscientiously opposed to both types (combatant and non-combatant) of military training and service - fulfills his service obligation as a civilian alternative service worker.
1-A-O Conscientious Objector - conscientiously opposed to training and military service requiring the use of arms - fulfills his service obligation in a noncombatant position within the military.
2-D Ministerial Students - deferred from military service.
3-A Hardship Deferment - deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon his family.
4-C Alien or Dual National - sometimes exempt from military service.
4-D Ministers of Religion - exempted from military service.

Student Postponements - a college student may have his induction postponed until he finishes the current semester or, if a senior, the end of the academic year. A high school student may have his induction postponed until he graduates or until he reaches age 20. Appealing a Classification - A man may appeal his classification to a Selective Service Appeal Board.
CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION AND ALTERNATIVE SERVICE

A conscientious objector is one who is opposed to serving in the armed forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles.

HOW TO APPLY

In general, once a man gets a notice that he has been found qualified for military service, he has the opportunity to make a claim for classification as a conscientious objector (CO). A registrant making a claim for Conscientious Objection is required to appear before his local board to explain his beliefs.

He may provide written documentation or include personal appearances by people he knows who can attest to his claims. His written statement might explain:

how he arrived at his beliefs; and
the influence his beliefs have had on how he lives his life.

The local board will decide whether to grant or deny a CO classification based on the evidence a registrant has presented.

A man may appeal a Local Board's decision to a Selective Service District Appeal Board. If the Appeal Board also denies his claim, but the vote is not unanimous, he may further appeal the decision to the National Appeal Board. See also Classifications.

WHO QUALIFIES?

Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical; however, a man's reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest. In general, the man's lifestyle prior to making his claim must reflect his current claims.

SERVICE AS A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR

Two types of service are available to conscientious objectors, and the type assigned is determined by the individual's specific beliefs. The person who is opposed to any form of military service will be assigned to Alternative Service - described below. The person whose beliefs allow him to serve in the military but in a noncombatant capacity will serve in the Armed Forces but will not be assigned training or duties that include using weapons.

ALTERNATIVE SERVICE

Conscientious Objectors opposed to serving in the military will be placed in the Selective Service Alternative Service Program. This program attempts to match COs with local employers. Many types of jobs are available, however the job must be deemed to make a meaningful contribution to the maintenance of the national health, safety, and interest. Examples of Alternative Service are jobs in:

conservation
caring for the very young or very old
education
health care

Length of service in the program will equal the amount of time a man would have served in the military, usually 24 months.

HOW THE DRAFT HAS CHANGED SINCE VIETNAM

If a draft were held today, it would be dramatically different from the one held during the Vietnam War. A series of reforms during the latter part of the Vietnam conflict changed the way the draft operated to make it more fair and equitable. If a draft were held today, there would be fewer reasons to excuse a man from service.

Before Congress made improvements to the draft in 1971, a man could qualify for a student deferment if he could show he was a full-time student making satisfactory progress toward a degree.

Under the current draft law, a college student can have his induction postponed only until the end of the current semester. A senior can be postponed until the end of the academic year.

If a draft were held today, local boards would better represent the communities they serve.
The changes in the new draft law made in 1971 included the provision that membership on the boards was required to be as representative as possible of the racial and national origin of registrants in the area served by the board.

A draft held today would use a lottery to determine the order of call.
Before the lottery was implemented in the latter part of the Vietnam conflict, Local Boards called men classified 1-A, 18 1/2 through 25 years old, oldest first. This resulted in uncertainty for the potential draftees during the entire time they were within the draft-eligible age group. A draft held today would use a lottery system under which a man would spend only one year in first priority for the draft - either the calendar year he turned 20 or the year his deferment ended. Each year after that, he would be placed in a succeedingly lower priority group and his liability for the draft would lessen accordingly. In this way, he would be spared the uncertainty of waiting until his 26th birthday to be certain he would not be drafted.

SURVIVING SONS

"Only Sons" and the draft

Contrary to popular belief, "only sons," "the last son to carry the family name," and "sole surviving sons" must register and they can be drafted. However, they may be entitled to a peacetime deferment if there is a military death in the immediate family.

Provisions regarding the survivors of veterans were written into Selective Service law after World War II. Details have varied over the years, but the basic premise remains the same; where a family member has been lost as a result of military service, the remaining family members should be protected insofar as possible.

It is important to keep in mind that the provisions are directly related to service-connected deaths. The mere fact that a man is the only child or only son does not qualify him for exemption - he must be the survivor of one who died as a result of military service.

The present law provides a peacetime exemption for anyone whose parent or sibling was killed in action, died in line of duty, or died later as a result of disease or injury incurred in line of duty while serving in the armed forces of the United States. Also included are those whose parent or sibling is in a captured or missing status as a result of service in the armed forces during any period of time. This is known as the "surviving son or brother" provision. A man does not have to be the only surviving son in order to qualify; if there are four sons in a family and one dies in the line of duty, the remaining three would qualify for surviving son or brother status under the present law.

The surviving son or brother provision is applicable only in peacetime. It does not apply in time of war or national emergency declared by the Congress.

The original law, passed in 1948, exempted the sole surviving son of a family where one or more sons or daughters died as a result of military service. No restriction existed at that time to limit the exemption to peacetime. The provision was intended to protect families which had lost a member in World War II.

In 1964, recognizing that sons of World War II veterans were reaching draft age, Congress changed the law to include the sole surviving son of a family where the father, or one or more sons or daughters, died as a result of military service. At this time the peacetime-only restriction was also added to the law.

A further change was made in 1971, expanding the exemption to any son, not necessarily the sole surviving son, of a family where the father, brother or sister died as a result of military service. This provision was recently expanded to include mothers.

(Source: US Selective Service System)