What is the draft and are you eligible for it?

By Lily Birdt

Conscription in the United States, known by most as the draft, began in the 19th century. It has been in place in the five large conflicts involving the United States government: the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, which includes the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Technically, however, conscription was instituted during the Civil War, because at the time of the Revolutionary War, the central government did not have the authority to draft citizens and only the states drafted men for militia. 

In the first days of January, the United States sent thousands of troops to the Middle East in preparation for a potential “retaliation” from the Iranian government. A spread of false information, escalated by social media, has taken place surrounding the draft. A screenshot of a fake tweet “Draft starts tomorrow” from President Donal Trump was shared widely across social media, which many believed to be real. 

While a lot of the attention and concern of eligibility of drafting was to be humorous, many still are unaware that the Selective Service System announced an end to mandatory registration in 1975 after the Vietnam War, making the United States Armed Forces an all-volunteer military. In order to bring back the draft, both Congress and the president would have to pass legislation authorizing it, which is highly unlikely.

However, it does remain in place as a contingency plan. All male U.S. citizens and immigrants living in the United States aged 18 to 25 are required to register. Men must also register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. However, only men over 20 are eligible to be drafted. Women are not eligible for registration

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