how does the selective service find people

I’ve heard that the Selective Service has a very high rate of reaching 18 year olds on their birth days. I’m wondering if this is done through tax or school records or combination of this? Any ideas?

Where may I ask did you here this?

I would suppose since they would all have a SS number and someone has been filing tax deductions from them, it would not be that hard.

FWIW, My sons both turned 18 without any particular notice from the selective service board.

Don’t forget about drivers licenses. I’m sure that has something to do with it.

Well, for one thing, when you apply for federal financial aid, you must register with the secret service. (If this were IMHO, I’d mention that it’s always seemed to me like a really convenient, underhanded way to get it done)

My high school principal had been in the military, so he was very proactive about making sure us boys were registered.

I’m really hoping you meant Selective Service instead of Secret Service.

They bribe kids with free ice cream.

*** Ponder

Whoops. Absolutely right, I meant selective service. Damn, I seem to make a lot of slips of the tongue on this board, beyond simply missing an apostrophe here and there.


They don’t reach you, unless things have changed a bunch. You reach them. You fill out a little post card and send it in. I think I still have my copy of mine, and that was 22 years ago.

How do they find you they ever actually have to institute a draft? If you registered in high school, there’s a good chance you’ve moved away within a couple of years. They could contact your parents, but howabout if your entire family has moved away from the area?

Yeah, that’s how I remember it, too. This reaches practically everybody because this has the force of law behind it, subjecting you (theoretically) to large fines and jail time if you knowingly don’t register. Wiki claims:

OTOH, it’s possible to reach practically all of an age group without such an arrangement. I can practically guarantee you that when you become eligible, you will receive a membership form from AARP. Of course, by that time, you’ve had forty years as an adult to show up various records.

The law that says you are suppose to register also says you are supposed to notify them of changes of address. Whether you do or not, most people fill out change of address with the post office anyway, which is good for a couple of years.

Many high schools nominate a teacher or administrator to act as a registrar - this helps students comply with the law and avoid future problems. Many federal and state benefits are contingent on registration - financial aid is common. More and more states are making registration a condition of holding a drivers license for males between 18 and 25.

(Disclaimer: While I am not a Selective Service employee I am a local board member. The above is merely a synopsis of existing policy.)

Also, under current plans, a draft would start with 20 yr olds, then 21, 22, and so on. Teenagers wouldn’t be drafted unless the pool of 20-25 yr olds was exausted. Most men would be drafted less than 2 years after they registered.

They definitely track you down and send you a notice within a period of a few months of turning 18 if you haven’t already registered.

I think the fact that a large percentage of 17 year olds are in school help a lot. At my high school the homeroom teacher passed out the registration cards, we filled it out, and that day 500 guys were quickly done.

If they’re already able to find you, then why do you need to register in the first place? If you’re drafted and “they” know where you are, it makes little difference if you registered or not.

Apart from making the process easier for them, it confirms that you are aware of your status, and allows them to send you a classification card, if they do that any more. That way, a potential draft notice is, at least theoretically, something you were informed about. You also might be disqualified in some way, and it makes sense to allow you to take care of that early, as well, rather than after you’ve gotten a draft notice.

Ok, so back to original question: how do they track you down? Mr. Moto implies that local leadership helps with this…through getting and supplying lists? But how else? What lists?

If there is a draft, it is quite possible that they’ll be bombing the country I am living in, so I’ll already be in position. :wink: