Selective Service System

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Selective Service System

The Selective Service System is responsible for supplying U.S. armed forces with people in the event of a national emergency. It is an independent agency of the federal government's Executive Branch.

The agency was established in its first form in 1917 and is authorized by the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C.A. app. 451–471a). This act, as amended, requires male citizens of the United States, and all other male persons who are in the United States and who are between the ages of eighteen and a half and twenty-six, to register for possible military service. It exempts active members of the armed forces, personnel of foreign embassies and consulates, and nonimmigrant Aliens.All registrants between the ages of eighteen and a half and twenty-six, except those who are deferred, are liable for training and service in the armed forces should Congress decide to conscript registrants. Those who have received a deferral are liable for training and service until age thirty-five. Aliens are not liable for training and service until they have remained in the United States for more than one year. In the event of the Conscription of registrants into the armed forces, conscientious objectors are required to do civilian work in place of conscription.

In 1980 President jimmy carter issued a proclamation (Proclamation 4771, July 2, 1980) requiring all males who were born after January 1, 1960, and who have attained age eighteen, to register with the Selective Service. Registration is conducted at U.S. post offices and at U.S. embassies and consulates outside the United States. The Selective Service maintains several field offices in addition to its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.


Armed Services; Solomon Amendment.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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