What does the Selective Service System do?

I know that the Selective Service System is responsible for the draft, but what do they do when there isn’t one? Do they have any other responsibilities? I can’t find any information on their website about it one way or the other.

This needs more explanation.

**picker ** (my husband) received a letter from the Selective Service today, but he’s out of town. He served during Desert Storm but is no longer in the military. I’m not going to open his mail, but I’m a mess thinking that this letter is calling him back to Iraq. Is there some other, perfectly logical reason that the Selective Service System would be sending him a stack of papers in a large manila envelope?

Background of the Selective Service

How Would Selective Service Conduct a Return to Conscription

I understand this to mean the SS pretty much is keeping the bureaucratic system greased and oiled in case a draft is implemented. It is easier keeping a government agency on standby mode and available for an immediate rampup than having to create it from scratch.

As for your specific concern, while your husband may be out of the active military, has he completed his service obligation? Many inactive reserves are being recalled to active duty. Sorry that this is not better news for you. Good luck.


Thanks. I saw those sections, too, and I think I may have phrased my question poorly. Is it the Selective Service that is recalling people to active duty? To this nonmilitary person, the recall seems to be rather like a draft with a limited pool and without a lottery system, so it would make a strange kind of sense if they were. Also, if the Selective Service System is strictly for drafts, why would they be sending mail to veterans and/or to those who are over the age of draftability? I can’t find anything on their website or elsewhere to answer these questions. I know I should just open the damn letter and ease my mind on this, but the invasion of privacy makes me nearly as uncomfortable as the uncertainty.

Althea, I hate to be a pain, but haven’t you been listening to the news?

Philadelphia Inqurier - July 7, 2004

KXAN TV - Austin, TX - July 8, 2004

See Google for more links.

Source: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/183370_firstperson26.html

I will stop now because anything further might become political, and that’a a no-no in GQ.

Can’t you call him on the phone? Perhaps he will ask you to open the envelope and read it to him?

Yes, I have been listening to the news; that’s why this letter has me concerned. I’m not asking if reserves are being called, I’m asking who it is that is doing the calling.

If I could get a hold of picker, I would have, but he’s out camping in The Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin, and we don’t have cell service there, so I’m stuck until he gets closer to home sometime tomorrow.

IANA soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, but it is my understanding that the Selective Service System would not be involved in calling someone back to duty if they are on the inactive reserve list. That would be handled by the military service itself.

This is a WAG – could it be that he applied for a position on the local draft board? They are now working on filling slots that have been vacant for quite a while. Also, if he had served in the National Guard, there’s some connection between certain NG personnel and training civilians who volunteer to serve on the draft boards. I’m afraid I don’t know much more in the way of details.

The Pentagon.
Would picker be angry if you opened his mail? I am not saying that it is ok to do it (not even venturing the issue of legality). However, if Mrs. Duckster were in your shoes she would not hesitate to open it, not because I wouldn’t mind under the circumstances, but she would then know one way or the other. If it’s good news, you will save yourself some serious worry. If it’s not, at the very least you will be able to deal with the facts before you, instead of worry all those what if scenarios.

Good luck and please let us know what happens.

althea, I can’t promise you my memory is still right… but at the time of my inactive service obligation it was the reserves that kept track of where a veteran was, and would be issuing the recall papers. I don’t think you need to be too worried, but I can’t guarantee it.

IMNSHO, the Selective Service Administration, still, exists for one purpose only: patronage jobs.

Paging Mr. Moto! You’re wanted in GQ!


I was wondering, say someone is notified that they’ve been selected to serve on a Selective Service board, are they required to do so or can they refuse?

And how do you figure that, considering such jobs are filled according to OPM?

Which jobs? The rank and file, or the directors? It’s a Federal bureaucracy, I doubt, strongly, that it’s immune to top level shifts that occur in ever other organization every 4 years.

Read my link! I didn’t post it for my health, dammit!

Because of potential conflicts of interest, Selective Service boards cannot include active duty or reserve personnel. So that leaves that right out.

It is possible that your husband applied, but he cannot serve on the local boards.

I don’t know what the letter entails. The only way to know is, of course, to read it.

Oops, sorry. I got confused a little bit there.

If he’s not in the military at all, and already completed a service obligation, don’t worry. The government can’t get him.

And that means he can fully serve on the board, as I’m a veteran myself.

Checking in! I got back from camping to a stressed out Althea wondering why in the hell I was receiving mail from the Selective Service.

Mr. Moto is correct - I have completed my full commitment - 4 yrs active and I ETS’d in 1993. So I am indeed not in danger of being recalled.

Indeed, I had volunteered for the Selective Service board. I figure that we’d better stack those draft boards with as many pinko liberals as we can… :smiley:

Glad to hear you’re safe!

And speaking as a rather conservative military veteran sort… I wish you the best of luck stacking the draft boards! :smiley:
(For those of you who may wonder what I meant - I am 100% against a draft.)

I’m pretty conservative, myself.

Doesn’t matter, as the criteria for letting people out of a service obligation for hardship or consciencious objection are spelled out pretty clearly.

Picker, we’re gonna be really popular around these parts. The draft is a constant source of anxiety on this board. At the very least, we should be a good GQ resource.