The Selective Service Act in the United States gives the president the power to draft citizens into the military. The first Selective Service Act was passed by Congress on May 18, 1917 in response to World War I. Since 1917, several amendments to the Act have passed, but the Selective Service System remains in effect as of 2014.
The pressures of World War I and the United States' relatively small peacetime army led to the creation of a formalized conscription process for the U.S. military. At the beginning of World War I, the U.S. army consisted of approximately 100,000 men, far too few to aid allies adequately in the growing conflict overseas. In an effort to increase the size of the army, President Woodrow Wilson pushed Congress to adopt conscription as an official practice, and the Selective Service Act was passed. The act required all men between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for military service. By the end of World War I, around 2.8 million men had been drafted to serve in the military. During the Vietnam War, the Selective Service Act was a subject of great controversy, but the Act was upheld. Currently, the United States requires all men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register with the Selective Service System. Any man failing to do so can be denied jobs or benefits such as financial aid for college.Learn More
The age limits for U.S. Military service vary between branches of the military. However, federal law 10 U.S. Code § 505 states that individuals cannot join the military if they are younger than 17 or older than 42.Full Answer >
Seventy-three countries have some form of conscription or mandatory military service, including Austria, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Russia and the United States, as of 2014. The rules vary greatly between countries.Full Answer >
A person who refuses military service due to religion is called a conscientious objector. Conscientious objection existed before the ratification of the United States Constitution, allowing people to follow their beliefs even during a draft.Full Answer >
The military alphabet is a phonetic alphabet that replaces letters with words. For example, A becomes Alpha, B is Bravo, C is Charlie and D is Delta. Each word is distinct from the other words for clarity of communication, especially important when troops must communicate via radio.Full Answer >