must register with Selective Service?
happens if I
don't register when I turn 18?
- If I
register, will I be drafted?
- If there
is a draft, what ages are called first?
women be drafted?
are my options when I register?
classifications does Selective Service have?
- What is a
conscientious objector (CO)?
a conscientious objector (CO) have to belong to a church, temple or
- Does a CO
have to believe in God?
a CO have to be a pacifist?
- What should I do right now, if I
think I may be a CO?
should I start keeping a record of my CO beliefs?
how do I start my record?
if I have already signed up for pre-enlistment or delayed entry?
- What can I do if I am already in the
- Who must
register? Virtually all men must register with Selective
Service. The exceptions to this rule are very few and include:
nonimmigrant aliens on student, visitor, tourist, or diplomatic visas;
men on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces; and cadets and midshipmen
in the Service Academies and certain other U.S. military colleges. All
other men must register upon reaching age 18 (or before age 26, if
entering and taking up residence in the U.S. when already older than
Men who believe themselves to be
conscientiously opposed to war are still required to register, under
the law. There is no program to
classify individuals at this time. Should
the Congress and the President reinstate a draft, a classification
program would begin. Registrants would be examined to determine
suitability for military service, and they would probably have less
than ten days
to claim exemptions, deferments, or postponements. Local Boards would
meet in every
American community to determine exemptions and deferments for
the disabled, clergymen, ministerial students, and men who file claims
reclassification as conscientious objectors. back
- What if I don't register? Failure
to register can result in five years in Federal prison and/or a
$250,000 fine. There are also other civil penalties. Although no
one has been prosecuted under this law for many years, proof
of registration is required to obtain Federal aid for college or
job training, as well as most Federal jobs. In New York State,
as many other states, you must
consent to be registered in order to obtain a driver's license or
learner's permit. back
I be drafted? There is no draft in place now.
However, Congress could establish a draft at any time. If it did
so today, letters of induction (draft notices) could be in the mail
within a month or two. Under current Selective Service
regulations, those who turn 20 in the year the draft is held would be
called first, in the order in which
their birth date has been selected in a lottery. Those called
could have as little as ten days to report to the draft board or to
notice that they wish to apply for a change in their active
classification. (There are three active
–A, combat ready; 1-A-O,
military non-combatant; and 1- O conscientious objector).back
will be drafted first? Under current Selective Service
regulations, those who turn 20 in the year of the draft would be called
first, then 21 year olds, and
so on through age 25. Finally, young men who have turned 18
1/2. However, it should be noted that there has been talk about
calling older individuals with particular skills or training needed by
the military (e.g. doctors or nurses). back
about women? Under current law, women cannot be
drafted. Congress could change that. back
are my options? You do have options, but not at the time
of registration. The Selective Service
registration form makes no provision for options. However an
individual is free to write on the form, for instance, "I am a
conscientious objector". This can be the beginning of a claim for
CO status. Since Selective Service will probably discard the form
after recording your basic information, it is a good idea
to make a copy of the form and mail it to yourself. Then if
in a draft, you can show you were already seeking
conscientious objector status. Also, if you haven't already begun to
keep records of why you are a CO, you should begin to do so when you
- What are Selective Service
active classifications? The Selective Service System has
established three active classifications:
- 1-A - those who are eligible to serve in the military;
- 1-A-O - those who object for reasons of conscience to
serving in combat positions but are willing to serve in non-combatant
- 1-O - those who object for reasons of conscience to
serving in any position in the military. back to top
- back to "Will I be drafted?"
are these called "active" classifications? Individuals
classified 1-A, 1-A-O or 1-O would then be directed to report for
duty, either in combat ready military service, non-combat military
service, or in a community service position to be determined and
assigned by the Selective Service System. back
- What is a
CO? According to the Selective Service System: "A
conscientious objector is one who is opposed to serving in the armed
forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral, ethical or
principles. 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." There is no provision in the law for those
who may find a particular war morally objectionable. back
I have to be religious? As noted above, CO status does not
require that a person be religious or belong to a particular
- Do I
have to believe in God? Nor does a conscientious objector
have to profess a faith in God. His objection may be purely
on moral or ethical grounds. back
I have to be a pacifist? No, a pacifist is one who believes
that all violence is wrong. A CO can be willing to use necessary
when required to defend himself or others from attack and still be
morally opposed to participation in war. back
- What now?? Start keeping a record!!!
As indicated above, in passing judgement on an individual's claim to be
a conscientious objector, the Selective Service Board will consider
whether his lifestyle prior to making the claim supports his current
claim. Therefore it is extremely important to begin right now to
establish a record of your objection to serving in the
military. Letters from pastors, teachers, counselors as well as
records that show your involvement in anti-military or peace-oriented
activities engaged in should be kept. back to top
- back to "What are my options?"
keep a record? In the words of the Selective Service
System, the person claiming to be a conscientious objector "...may
provide written documentation or include personal appearances by people
he knows who can attest to his claims. His written statement might
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. " back
- How do I start my
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors has an excellent guide to
get you started. Go to: http://objector.org/
if I said I would join after high school? High
school students who have agreed to
enlist after finishing high school can change their minds. All
you must do is notify the recruiter in writing that you do not want to
enlist. For more information, again go to:http://objector.org/
if I am already in the military?? Those already in the
military may have the best reasons of all to be conscientious
objectors. Again, go to:http://objector.org/