The Selective Service – Flawed or Functioning?

The Selective Service - Flawed or Functioning?

Poster 1-EnglishServing your country is a truly noble thing. Enlisting in the military and deciding to potentially risk your life so that our nation may continue its pursuit of liberty and justice for all is one of the greatest shows of patriotism any one can offer. But your decision to do so should be just that. A decision. The Selective Service allows the government to strip away the option to make this choice, and the way it is implemented is both unfair and outdated.

First of all, it’s important to address who can — or rather must — register. Any man from the ages of 18 to 25 is required to sign up with the Selective Service as soon as they reach legal age. This age catches men right in their prime. This is the age range where most men will start their life, whether that involves enrolling in college or getting a start on gaining work experience.

Now, is the government going to take every man within this age range? No. When you’re called in through lottery it’s required that you go through the same evaluation any person enlisted in the military goes through. This involves both physical and psychological tests that determine whether you are suited for potential combat. This removes both the physically or mentally disabled from service.

A problem with the draft that’s frequently commented on is the fact that women aren’t required to sign up for the Selective Service. While it’s important to acknowledge that woman can be drafted in extreme circumstances, it has never been done, and it’s still considered unconstitutional for women to be forced into the draft like men are. Even after the July changes to government policy barring women from combat, the draft is still male exclusive.

These are just bare bones problems. This isn’t even addressing the fact that women who’ve gone through a sex change (essentially becoming male) and men who’ve done the same (becoming female) are still required — or not required — to sign up for the Selective Service as decided by their birth sex. Nor does it look at the fact that the only surefire way to avoid the Selective Service is to sign up for military service all throughout the required age gap (18-25), which would make signing up redundant anyway as you’re performing the same service.

Now, there is a seemingly simple way out of all this inconvenience and potential trouble. Just don’t sign up. But it’s really not that simple. Not signing up carries heavy consequences that can have very serious effects on the rest of your life.

First and foremost, you can be imprisoned or fined. Not signing up for the draft is considered a felony and carries with it the potential for up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $250,000.

For perspective, a 9 month, 12-18 credit year at UW-Eau Claire costs under $20,000 for a Wisconsin resident. According to USA Today, in August of 2013 the average new car costed roughly $31,000. Needless to say, $250,000 is a large amount out-of-pocket, and has a major impact on anyone hoping to make a future for themselves or any kind of family. Similar can be said for a five-year prison sentence.

On top of this, and perhaps more importantly, not signing up for the selective service makes you completely ineligible for any kind of government-funded grants or loans. This means if you’re a young man hoping to go to college, but you need some money in your pocket to do so, you won’t be able to apply for funding through FAFSA or other government financial aid to help you.

Now, it’s pretty clear that the Selective Service has some flaws. But does this mean you shouldn’t sign up? No. Not at all. The penalties for not signing up are crippling to your future, and when compared to the potential of a draft it’s much more likely to ruin your life that signing up. It’s also important to acknowledge that the last draft was in 1972, far before most of us attending high school were born. While the risk is always there for another draft, it’s not worth jeopardizing your future to avoid one.

Sign up, it’s the law.