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Operations

The Selective Service System can provide personnel to the Department of Defense in a crisis with fairness and equity, and an Alternative Service Program can be in operation quickly and effectively for men classified as conscientious objectors.

Agreements With Other Agencies to Enhance Readiness

If a draft is necessary in a future crisis, Selective Service cannot operate in a vacuum. The Agency must constantly fine tune its plans for activation of a draft as a key element of readiness.

In January 1996, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by SSS Director Gil Coronado and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy Fred Pang to clarify responsibilities for readiness planning. This is especially important for Selective Service in that mobilization timetables for induction of registrants were updated in 1995. The MOU specifies certain Defense facilities and personnel to assist Selective Service following a return to induction.

An MOU was also negotiated with the U.S. Postal Service in September 1996, giving the SSS the ability to issue induction notices through postal channels. Previously, under an arrangement with Western Union, "Mailgrams" would have been used. The Postal Service has improved its electronically-based distribution capabilities and should now be able to provide the responsiveness necessary in a draft.

Two additional MOUs were initiated and are being staffed with the Department of the Army and the U.S. Military Entrance and Processing Command (USMEPCOM). Under the MOU with the Army, Army retirees will serve as augmentees to assist in opening SSS Area Offices in the event of a return to the draft. The MOU with the USMEPCOM facilitates a two-step induction process to help determine the number of qualified registrants available should there be a return to inductions. Registrants would first be called for examination, then later for induction. The two-step process falls in line with new Defense Department requirements that extend the timetable for draftees to report, and places much less dependence on the one-step emergency induction process that formed the basis for mobilization planning during the Cold War.

The new DoD requirements have been driving much of the ongoing work in the SSS under the heading of "time-phased response." The plan that provides basic guidance for expansion of the Selective Service System under a time-phased response was completed in FY 1996 and is undergoing review. State and regional implementation plans will be completed once the primary Agency plan is approved in early FY 1997.

Alternative Service

The Military Selective Service Act (MSSA) recognizes and respects the right of individual registrants to seek exemption from military service because of their personal beliefs. When a classification program resumes as a part of a future draft, registrants whose deeply held moral, religious beliefs, or matters of conscience preclude them from any military service, will be classified as conscientious objectors by SSS Local Boards. Nonmilitary service in the national interest can be provided for such men under an Alternative Service Program, a part of the Registrant Information Management System (RIMS). Procedures and practices employed in administering an Alternative Service Program were improved during FY 1996.

Health Care Personnel Delivery System (HCPDS)

The Department of Defense indicates it may require personnel skilled in over 60 separate health care specialties in a future crisis with high casualties. Possibly tens of thousands of these specialists would be needed almost immediately upon commencement of hostilities to care for the wounded. During FY 1996, the HCPDS was reviewed in conjunction with the RIMS programs. As a result, modifications were made in the system which will enhance its efficiency under emergency mobilization procedures. Moreover, preparatory steps were taken to submit HCPDS to the business process re-engineering effort which will modify it for implementation under time-phased response mobilization conditions.

Field Training

All readiness training programs and products were monitored and evaluated, including training at the detachment and board levels. Statistical analyses, along with feedback from participants, reviews of after-action reports, plus discussions with personnel at training sites and Region Headquarters were used to develop or revise training materials and programs continually during the year.

Improved coordination between National Headquarters and the Regions consolidated printing requirements at the national level. The result was significant conservation of printing funds.

SSS is also looking at employing computer-based training programs, as personal computers become more pervasive throughout the field structure.

State Director Training

New State Directors attended training designed to familiarize them with their duties. Experienced State Directors participated in a four-hour continuation training session. Training conducted in FY 1996 included blocks of instruction on responsibilities in peacetime and upon activation. There were also classes on policy and procedures, an overview of Alternative Service functions, and a review of the requirements of activating and operating a state headquarters.

Reserve Force Officer (RFO) Training

During their required training assemblies, or "drills," RFOs received readiness training in the form of Training Guidance Outlines (TGOs) and Training Guidance Packets (TGPs). The TGOs and TGPs keep RFOs current in their responsibilities in the event of a national emergency or upon the Agency's full activation.

The triennial application of the Area Office Manager Certification Examination was completed. Additionally, a self-study New Officer/State Director, Phase I, Training Program was updated and provided to the RFOs and State Directors before they attended the Phase II training at Region Headquarters. The Phase I program covers mission, organization, programs, and history. The seven-day Phase II program covers the "why" and "how" of accomplishing mission essential tasks.

Board Member Training

Initial Board Member Training was conducted for newly appointed board members during FY 1996. It was given in 12-hour sessions on weekends. All new board members were required to attend.

Continuation training for half of the Local and District Appeal Boards was provided in four-hour sessions. Civilian Review Board Members completed their appropriate phase of study through a self-study packet. Training goals for Local Board Members were met during FY 1996. Continuation training packages for board training were developed and printed, and were distributed to the Regions in FY 1997.

Area Office Augmentee Training

Area Office Augmentee Training was not done in FY 1996 because of the anticipated change in the source of augmentee personnel. Under an older agreement, Army National Guard recruiters were to be used initially to staff Area Offices in a crisis. The new agreement with the Army calls for using Army retirees to perform the function. A self-study orientation training program for augmentees is being developed for the 1,500 authorized augmentees. The program will help new augmentees meet their responsibilities as part of an Area Office team.

Registration and Compliance

One of Selective Service System's primary missions in peacetime is to maintain an effective registration program for all men reaching 18 years of age. In FY 1996, approximately 92 percent of the estimated 14 million men age 18 through 25 were registered. This represents a slight decrease from previous years.

Ways Young Men Register

Young men register in several ways. They may register at any of more than 34,000 post offices nationwide. Or, they may complete and return a registration reminder postcard most men receive in the mail. The mail-back cards provide a convenient way for young men to register at less cost to the government. Registration reminder postcards are mailed to over two million young men each year, at about the time of their 18th birthday. A young man simply fills out the card he receives and mails it back to Selective Service.

Names of men likely to be required to register are obtained from State Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs), the Department of Defense high school recruiting list, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Department of Education. In FY 1996, the Reminder Mail-back Program generated more than 792,000 registrations. Of these, 540,000 registrations were generated from DMV lists and nearly 187,000 from the DoD list mailings, averaging a 44- and 20-percent return rate, respectively.

Under a reimbursement agreement, the Selective Service System continues to pay the U.S. Postal Service $1.06 per registration card received. Because of increasing costs and diminishing resources, the two agencies have agreed to implement a new program. Registration mail-back cards will be made available in post offices. Thus, a man may simply complete a mail-back card, add postage, and mail it to Selective Service, with little involvement of a postal clerk. In FY 1996, a pilot mail-back program was conducted in eight cities to determine the effectiveness of this approach. The results of the pilot program will determine the degree of program expansion in FY 1997.

The Selective Service System continues to explore other ways of registering men. One of the new methods developed in FY 1996, to be implemented in early FY 1997, is a program with CompuServe. Men of registration age who have access to the CompuServe on-line service will be offered the opportunity to initiate their registration by using a home or school personal computer. A prompt on the computer screen will request that the individual provide his name, date of birth, address, and Social Security Account Number. This information will be downloaded to Selective Service. A card with the information provided will then be sent to him, requesting that he verify its accuracy. He then signs it, and returns it to Selective Service to complete his registration.

Registrar Programs

The SSS has several major registrar programs. Registrars are volunteers who inform men of their responsibility to register, provide them with registration forms, and collect and forward completed registration forms to Selective Service. There are more than 10,000 volunteer registrars in public and private schools throughout the U.S. Another notable registrar program, begun in early 1995, is conducted within the Association of Farmworkers Opportunity Programs (AFOP). AFOP is a national association representing farmworkers and state agencies operating Job Training Partnership Act and Title IV Section 402 grants. Its SSS registrar work has expanded to 24 states, with 161 appointed Selective Service registrars registering farmworkers at local training and educational field offices. AFOP is made up of 53 member-organizations in 49 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and provides disadvantaged farmworkers with education, training and employment opportunities both within and outside agriculture.

Identifying Non-Registrants

Failure to register is not a victimless crime. Each man who does not register increases the draft vulnerability of those who do register. By matching names and addresses from a variety of computer lists with the registration data base, Selective Service informs many men of their registration requirement in an effort to keep compliance as high as possible.

To reverse the slight decline in registration compliance experienced in FY 1996, the Selective Service System initiated several programs that will be fully implemented in FY 1997. One of the key programs in the coming year is a national automatic registration program with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Final approval has been received from the INS for language to appear on INS Form I-485, which is used by all applicants for U.S. citizenship and those adjusting their citizenship status. The joint INS/SSS program currently in place identifies non-citizens or green card holders who have not registered. Currently, the Agency incurs a postage cost under this program, but when fully implemented, the program will involve only the cost for the automatic electronic exchange of information.

 

Last Updated April 30, 2002
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