Friday, May 13, 2011


Disappeared news: it’s still necessary for males 18-25 to register for the draft, and there are consequences if they don’t

by Larry Geller

In conversation with Rafael del Castillo, former candidate in last year’s 1st Congressional District race, I learned that there is an educational campaign underway in Hawaii to remind draft-age students that they must register for the draft. Ok,  this isn’t something many people think about these days when no one is being conscripted.. Why is that news?

It turns out that there are consequences for not registering. The government web page on the subject is actually quite scary. Five years in jail and a maximum of $250,000? That’s more than many major crimes!

So I spoke with Andrew Pepper, Hawaii’s State Director for the US Selective Service System. He confirmed to me that there haven’t been any convictions for failure to register in recent times. But there are consequences for not registering that could affect young men here in Hawaii, and some are not curable—ever.

I asked for an outline, and here is what Mr. Pepper emailed:

The Selective Service System is part of our national readiness and preparedness planning.  It often is described as a “national insurance policy.”  The statutory missions of Selective Service are to be prepared to provide trained and untrained personnel to the DoD in the event of a national emergency and to be prepared to implement an Alternative Service Program for registrants classified as conscience objectors.  While there is no current active program of conscription, Section 3 of the Military Selective Service Act requires all male U.S. citizens and male aliens (with exceptions for aliens admitted as nonimmigrants on visas), residing in the U.S. and its territories, who are age 18 through 25 years of age, to register with Selective Service within 30 days before or after their 18th birthday.  Men may still register late, as long as they have not yet turned 26 years of age.

Men of registration age may register at or by obtaining a Registration Form (SSS Form 1) from any Post Office.  Men of registration age (or approaching registration age) may also talk to their High School counselors (most of whom are Selective Service Registrars). 

Registration is the law. A man who fails to register may, if prosecuted and convicted, face a fine of up to $250,000 and/or a prison term of up to five years.

Even if not tried, a man who fails to register with Selective Service before turning age 26 may find that some doors are permanently closed.  Those doors include:


Men, born after December 31, 1959, who aren't registered with Selective Service won't qualify for Federal student loans or grant programs. This includes Pell Grants, College Work Study, Guaranteed StudenUPlus Loans, and National Direct Student Loans.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday.


The Workforce Investment Act (formerly called the Job Training Partnership Act - JTPA) offers programs that can train young men seeking vocational employment or enhancing their career. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service. This applies only to men born after December 31,1959.


A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service. This applies only to men born after December 31, 1959.

Selective Service wants young men to register. It does not want them to be prosecuted or denied benefits. If a draft is ever needed, it must be as fair as possible, and that fairness depends on having as many eligible men as possible registered. In the event of a draft, for every man who fails to register, another man would be required to take his place in service to his country.

I asked about registration of those with disabilities, since I serve on the State Rehabilitation Council and have an interest in improving employment prospects for those living with disabilities:

Disabled men who live at home must register with Selective Service if they can reasonably leave their homes and move about independently. A friend or relative may help a disabled man fill out the registration form if he can't do it himself.

Men with disabilities that would disqualify them from military service still must register with Selective Service. Selective Service does not presently have authority to classify men, so even men with obvious handicaps must register now, and if needed, classifications would be determined later.

Finally, going back to the web page linked above, I noticed that Hawaii is listed among states where “you can expect to be denied a driver’s license” if not registered.  I don’t know how that plays out in practice, but with the possibility of federally mandated “Real ID” becoming reality, it may become a problem one day.

It’s hard to believe that these penalties are in place. I was surprised to learn about them.

It would be a shame for a person to be subject to life-long penalties out of ignorance of the requirements.


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Larry, thanks for the heads up. I am 47 but these "elements of USA reality" are important. Mahalo for all the work you do.

This is huge discrimination against boys and men, and a clear cut abrogation of the civil liberties of the people, men in particular. With robotics technology, the need for physical power is all but rendered mute, and there are reportedly over 3million stay at home Dads across the nation, that number projected to rise significantly over the next decade as more and more women became the family breadwinners. I am seeing this happen myself in the middle-upper income community I live in in the SF Bay hills. Why should women get special privileges over men, these basic human rights, without any stipulations thrown upon their shoulders? Parents of only sons have exponentially more reason to feel horrified over any prospect of their child being subjected to this than parents of any daughters, especially if those parents are morally against the violence of war to begin with. Our sons should not be discriminated against. A mans life is no more expendable than a woman's. There should be huge protests against this. Are we that weak a united people that we are just giving up the fight for equality? We see documentary after documentary fighting for "Women's rights"...but it appears we've overdone it, and I see this plainly and clear as a woman myself. We now have women overall making more than men and several areas for fear of "discrimination against women", we have more women attending college than men, boys are discriminated against across schools right from the start. (ADHD meds wrongly given, claim they don't pay attn" as well as girls which is not true, phys ed taken away for budget cuts to pay for our unnecessary politically inspired wars, hence boys not getting their inherent energy out) etc etc etc. The Selective Service in not working. there are millions upon millions of enlightened men realizing how wrong this "law" is, and rightfully refusing to register. ONly maby 18 have been prosecuted since 1980. Prosecuted for something that should be their basic human right! This act needs to be abloshed and turned into 100% voluntary for both genders. If this does not happen, women will be added to the requirement as indicated in recent new coverage on youtube with Obama and several political leaders on both sides of coin. Its either treat all with equality, or drop the dam inhumane act altogether. This is a true indication that the USA is far far from being a "free country" or a democracy of any sort.

This is an old law that should just be taken off the books. We have a volunteer army now and recruiters more than meet their quotas for recruits now. This law is obsolete.

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