NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Upturn Noted In Draft Registration

May 22, 2001

After sinking almost steadily since 1990, the proportion of military draft registrations of men turning 20 experienced an uptick last year, according to the Selective Service System.

  • Some 87 percent of males registered in 2000, up from 83 percent in 1999.
  • The compliance figure for 1990, however, was 96 percent.
  • Although the draft and mandatory registration of 18-year-olds ended in 1973, Congress reinstated registration in 1980.
  • Although males must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday, Selective Service doesn't measure compliance until the year they turn 20 and are eligible to be drafted.

Although they can serve in an all-volunteer military, women are not required to register. The Supreme Court has ruled that male-only registration is constitutional.

Those who fail to register could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine -- although the Selective Service rarely prosecutes. Instead, those who don't register are barred from receiving student aid, job training and federal jobs. Twenty-nine states have similar sanctions and five states won't renew drivers' licenses.

Male immigrants who are at least 18 years old are also required to register and could be denied U.S. citizenship if they don't.

Source: Andrea Stone, "Draft Registration Compliance on Rise, Report Says," USA Today, May 22, 2001.


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