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Selective Service System (U.S.)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by rick wyatt
Keywords: selective service system | departmental | united states |
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[Flag of Securities and Exchange Commission] image by Randy Young, 15 September 2017

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The Selective Service System is an independent agency of the US Government whose responsibility includes maintaining information on those citizens eligible for conscripted military service. I recently came across a photograph of the new director of the Selective Service System - Mr. Donald Benton - that shows him sitting at a desk with two large flags in front of him ( One is the American flag. The second is either the flag of the Selective Service System, or perhaps the flag used by the director of the agency. In any case, the flag features the central motif of the SSS seal centered on a blue field. The motif shows the bald eagle and stars from the Great Seal of the United States, but with the blue chief of the shield replaced by a white chief bearing the blue letters "SSS."
Randy Young, 15 September 2017

"The Selective Service System was established on May 18, 1917 through the "Selective Service Act of 1917" (40 Stat. 76) (initially) to raise an army to fight in Europe during World War I. The Act gave the President the power to conscript men for military service. All men aged 21 to 30 were required to register for military service for a service period of 12 months (currently, virtually all male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of their 18th birthdays and must notify Selective Service within ten days of any changes to any of the information they provided on their registration cards. This includes permanent residents (holders of Green Cards), refugees, asylees, and undocumented immigrants.

Selective Service law as it is written now refers specifically to "male persons" in stating who must register and who would be drafted. For women to be required to register with the Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law, which currently exempts women from registration.

The constitutionality of excluding women was decided in 1981 by the United States Supreme Court in Rostker v. Goldberg, with the Court holding that requiring only men to register did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The legislation under which this agency operates is the Military Selective Service Act, 50 U.S.C. 3801 et seq. (formerly 50 U.S.C. App 451 et seq.).

“If, at any time, calls for the induction of persons into the Armed Forces are discontinued…the Selective Service System…shall, nevertheless, be maintained as an active standby organization…”

The two-part mission of the Selective Service System is:
- to provide manpower to the armed forces in an emergency; and
- to run an Alternative Service Program for men classified as conscientious objectors during a draft."
Sources: and

For additional information go to SSS (official website, currently down, accessible through here:
Esteban Rivera, 15 September 2017