Image of the Constitution of the United StatesWHAT DOES SELECTIVE SERVICE PROVIDE FOR AMERICA?

The Selective Service System and the registration requirement for America's young men provide our Nation with a structure and a system of guidelines which will provide the most prompt, efficient, and equitable draft possible, if the country should need it. America's leaders agree that despite the success of the All-Volunteer Force, registration with Selective Service must continue as a key component of national security strategy.

A hedge against a catastrophe we do not yet anticipate, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, May 2013

Registration provides a hedge against a catastrophe we do not yet anticipate...and reminding our youth that public service is a valid part of American Citizenship.”  

To have some mechanisms in place, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, October 2011

On the selective service  .... my view is that we ought to maintain the registration aspect because, particularly as we go through these budget cuts, particularly as we go into the future, if we -- if we face, you know, one of those surprises, if we face one of those crises that suddenly occurs, we've got to have some mechanisms in place in order to be able to respond....  we always have to be ready for that possible contingency in the future if we suddenly had to face an unexpected event. “

Ability to respond to mobilization challenges, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, July 1999

 “Our view is unchanged from that reported by the President [Clinton] in 1995. Therefore, we urge against any funding reductions of the Selective Service System that would compromise its ability to respond to mobilization challenges of the Department of Defense.”   

A Fair and Equitable Draft, Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry, August 1995

"This small, but important agency should be maintained in its current state of readiness, and its peacetime registration program involving America's young men should be preserved to help ensure that any future draft, if needed, would be fair and equitable."

A Relatively Low-Cost Insurance Policy, President William Clinton, May 18, 1994

"Maintaining the Selective Service System and draft registration provides a hedge against unforeseen threats and a relatively low cost "insurance policy" against our underestimating the maximum level of threat we expect our Armed Forces to face.... As fewer and fewer members of our society have direct military experience, it is increasingly important to maintain the link between the All-Volunteer Force and our society-at-large. The Armed Forces must also know that the general population stands behind them, committed to serve, should the preservation of our national security so require."