“Truth In Recruitment helped the SBUSD ensure students have access to all their options for career choices and college financial aid”— Monique Limon, California State Assemblymember and former Santa Barbara Unified School District School Board President
Truth in Recruitment calls for the
Abolition of the Selective Service System
The U.S. Congress is currently debating the future of the Selective Service System (SSS). For the last four decades, only men between 18 and 26 years old have been required to register with the SSS for a potential military draft. In March 2020, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) recommended that Congress expand SSS registration to women.
Truth in Recruitment, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, along with a network of peace activists, feminists, faith communities, draft-resisters, and draft-age youth disagree with this recommendation. We firmly believe that instead of trying to expand draft registration to young women, Congress should end draft registration for all.
Spokesperson Kate Connell of TIR stated, “We do not believe that mandating women to register for a military draft supports equality for women; extending coercive measures to women will not expand their opportunities, it will merely remove their option to choose.” She continued, “We believe that the best way to promote gender equality is to end draft registration for all. Extending mandatory draft registration to new groups is neither an expression of expanding liberty nor is it an ‘insurance policy’ to avert war.”
Another bipartisan bill, H.R. 2509, calls for elimination of the SSS, to move beyond forcing young people into the military. The main sponsor of the bill, Rep. Peter DeFazio, said:
“No young person, regardless of gender, should be subject to a military draft or be forced to register for a draft in the United States. The military draft registration system is an unnecessary, wasteful bureaucracy which unconstitutionally violates Americans’ civil liberties and unfairly subjects individuals who fail to register for the draft to unnecessarily severe, lifelong penalties – penalties which disproportionately affect low-income Americans. Adding women to the draft will only double the amount of Americans who are subjected to this arcane practice.”
Follow these links for answers to frequently asked questions about the Selective Service System:
More information, including official statements already submitted from our partners, is linked below.
It’s Time to End Draft Registration Once and For ALL!
The Commission on Military, National, and Public Service is at work right now to determine the fate of Selective Service (Draft) Registration.
Truth in Recruitment sees the future of the Selective Service System, mandatory registration for military service, as a critical issue for the future of all residents of the United States of America and its territories. We voiced our concerns to National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) commissioners, on a November 13, 2019 conference call, along with representatives of the Center on Conscience & War, CodePink, Courage to Resist, Resisters.info, Veterans for Peace, War Resisters League, and the Fellowship for Reconciliation.
Although expansion of the SSS mandatory registration to women has not yet been enacted, TIR is committed to support anyone who resists registering. After examining the questions on the website of the NCMNPS, here are our recommendations:
- We call for the abolition of the Selection Service System and commit ourselves to work with renewed dedication to abolish it. We shall oppose attempts to expand SSS mandatory registration, however constructive the alleged purpose. We do not support efforts at reform; the issue is not equal treatment under compulsion, but freedom from compulsion.
- It is especially egregious to have this program continue without a choice to declare oneself a conscientious objector.
- Penalties for noncompliance should be proportional to the harm of the noncompliance. There should not be lifelong disabilities, i.e. registration linked to the ability to get a driver’s license, or to qualify for financial aid in advanced education or governmental employment. Removal of such penalties should be retroactive.
- Representing a community with a large immigrant population, we feel it is particularly important to remove the disqualification for residents and undocumented people from the ability to apply for citizenship if they have not registered with the SSS. Removal of such penalties should also be retroactive.
- While it might be said that the barriers to military service are issues such as a lack of awareness of the requirement to register or a physical disability, barriers may also include matters of conscience, for example being required to serve in undeclared, unconstitutional military actions, loss of freedom, loss of educational opportunities, endangered health, changes in family, personal necessities, development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Moral Injury, Military Sexual Assault, statistically higher chances for becoming suicidal, and violation of personal life philosophies.
- All of the barriers to service can be mitigated by transferring large parts of the military budget to public education, health care, infrastructure, and fulfilling the needs of a modern society.
We have observed the commission closely and are deeply concerned about what the commission may recommend to the US Congress in 2020. In April 2019, Truth in Recruitment members Kate Connell, TIR director and parent of two draft age young adults; Arianna, University of California at Berkeley student; and Callum, Castro Valley, California high school student, traveled to Washington D.C. for the NCMNPS Selective Service Hearings. They made public comment at the hearings: How to Meet Potential National Mobilization Needs, on April 24, and Should Registration be Expanded to All Americans, on April 25. Previously, on September 20, 2018, Ms. Connell, along with TIR members Joe Asebedo, Marine Corps veteran and Veterans for Peace Ventura Chapter vice president, Michael Cervantes, Veterans for Peace Ventura Chapter president, and Michael Meredith, former educator, traveled to give testimony at the NCMNPS public meeting at the California State University, Los Angeles Campus.
We appreciate that the commission has asked to hear from those who are calling for the elimination of the SSS. We believe that these groups represent the voices of the majority of Americans who believe in voluntary service and freedom from compulsion for all.
Congress established the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service as part of the compromise reached by the Conference Committee during the 2017 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) process.
The Commission’s mandate is to consider issues of national service, both military and civilian, including important questions about Selective Service registration: should it continue, should women be required to register, and if it is to be maintained, what changes should be made to the Selective Service System. In its deliberations and public meetings, the Commission also has considered mandatory national service for all young people.
It has been decades since there has been a serious national conversation about Selective Service. This is a great opportunity to send a message to Congress that it is time to End Draft Registration Once and For ALL!
Draft registration has been a failure and a burden on millions of men. The vast majority of men violate the law by not registering willfully or timely as the law requires. Most young men today are registered through coercive means that are linked to other actions, such as applying for student financial aid or a driver’s license or state ID. If someone fails to register, these and other federal and state programs and services can be taken away, without due process.
Rather than continue this extra-judicial punishment for men or extend it to women, it’s time to end draft registration for everyone!
Requiring women to register for the draft does nothing to forward the movement for gender equality. To the contrary, feminist movements throughout history have included resistance to the undemocratic practice of conscription. The male-only draft already has been deemed unconstitutional by the courts. Striking down the draft and draft registration for everyone is the better path toward freedom and equality for all genders!
The Commission is scheduled to report its findings and make recommendations for the future of draft registration in March of 2020 to the United States Congress.
Here are key points to make when speaking to your elected representatives:
- Draft registration should be ended for everyone, not extended to women;
- All criminal, civil, federal and state penalties for failure to register must be ended and overturned for those currently living under these penalties;
- National service should remain voluntary. Compulsory service, whether civilian or military, is in conflict with the principles of a democratic and free society.
More information, including official statements already submitted from our partners, is linked below.
PDFs of STATEMENTS MADE BY NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS CALLING FOR THE END OF THE SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM:
Draft registration ceased entirely from 1975 to 1980, and the Selective Service System was cut back to “deep standby” status with only minimal headquarters staff and no local draft boards. But since 1980, all cis men, and anyone assigned male at birth, US citizens, most cis men and anyone assigned male at birth US residents, documented and undocumented, have been required to register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday, and notify the Selective Service System each time they change their residence until their 26th birthday. Draft registration is one of the ways that all cis men and anyone assigned male at birth (and possibly soon cis women and anyone assigned female at birth as well) have to interact with the military and think about their relationship to military “service”.
The Federal government requires that all cis men and anyone assigned male at birth residing in the United States register with the Selective Service System (SSS) during a 60 day period that begins 30 days before their 18th birthday. Although it is not technically conscription, the military draft, it is a list of people who could be called up if the draft were reinstated.
Some people may feel conscientiously opposed to cooperating with draft registration. If you are a conscientious objector whose conscience allows you to register you should go to the post office and fill out the registration card. Write somewhere on the face of the card, between the lines or above your signature, “I’m opposed to participation in war in any form because of my ethical, moral, or religious beliefs,” or words to that effect. You should make a photocopy of the card before surrendering it to the postal clerk. This cannot be done if you register electronically on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, only if you register by mail with a paper/hard copy.
Here is an article arguing that Why Mandatory National Service is Both Unjust and Unconstitutional by Ilya Somin.
Transgender women are required to register. This link takes you to a Selective Service System page that describes all of those required to register.
More information on SSS registration and Conscientious Objection is available from the Center on Conscience & War, 202-483-2220 | 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW | Washington, DC 20009 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Colleges and Job Training Institutes:
Remember that high school counselors are there to help you, they’re trained to help applying to college. Talk to them about applying to the college you want to go to. Make sure you check each college’s financial office pages for scholarships.
Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) – Job search Sites, Local employers, General and global jobs searches, employment agencies, State Federal job sites, internships, fun stuff.
SBCC also has the Promise Program for any Santa Barbara residents can study at SBCC tuition free
Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) is a state-funded, educational support program for financially and academically disadvantaged students enrolled full time (12 or more units) at SBCC and at Allan Hancock College/EOPS.
Allan Hancock College- Apprenticeship Training
Allan Hancock College- Promise Program (tuition free for high school graduates in North Santa Barbara County including Lompoc, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez and Vandenberg Air Force Base Center)
Allan Hancock College-Career opportunities: http://www.hancockcollege.edu/academic_departments/industrial_tech/apprenticeship/careers.php
Allan Hancock College: www.hancockcollege.edu
Cal Poly SLO: www.calpoly.edu
Brandman University School of Business & Professional Studies: www.brandman.edu
Santa Barbara-Workforce Resource Center: The WRC is a partnership of public, non-profit and community-based organizations. The mission at the WRC is to provide training, education and employment services for job seekers and employers in a single, customer-friendly system. Visit the online Inter-Link website at www.workforceresource.com. The WRC is open to any member of the public, with locations in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria:
- Santa Barbara: 130 E. Ortega St, phone (805) 568-1296, M-F 8am-5pm
- Santa Maria: 1410 S. Broadway, phone (805) 614-1550, M-F 8am-5pm
Career Technical Education: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ct/ A program of study that involves a multiyear sequence of courses that provide California students with a pathway to postsecondary education and careers.
The Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a range of employment and training services in partnership with state and local agencies and organizations. These services are for job seekers, laid off workers, youth, individuals currently working, veterans, and people with disabilities.
The Youth Employment Opportunity Program (YEOP) provides special services to youth between the ages of 15 and 25 to assist them in achieving their educational and vocational goals.
Mile High Youth Corps is an AmeriCorps grantee. Youth, over the age of 16, who serve in the Corps are eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion of a full term of service in one of our programs. The AmeriCorps education award can be used at any accredited educational institution.
National Park Service Student Conservation Association (SCA) sponsors camping or commuting crews and a nationwide network of young conservationists. SCA offers a range of programs for youth ages 15-19. There are local community or explore public lands across the country
Pathways Programs-provide paid employment opportunities with the Federal government for high school students, undergraduates, post-graduates and recent graduates.
The Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara region:
Center for Employment Training (CET): www.cetweb.org
Financial Aid for College:
California Student Aid Commission: www.csac.ca.gov
Cal Grant (Cash for College!): www.calgrants.org
Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara: www.sbscholarship.org
Santa Barbara City College Scholarships: www.sbcc.edu/scholarships/
Online Scholarship Help: Scholarship Search Engine
Find an Affordable College Quickly: www.collegeraptor.com
Most students qualify for financial aid. Fill out a FAFSA form during your senior year, and talk to financial aid staff at the schools you want to attend!