Selective Service issuing draft cards?
A card-style proof of registration is being issued, but it
has nothing to do with the draft. No one has been drafted
since 1973, and it would require an act of Congress to reinstate
Americans over the age of 30 remember the "draft card"
which Selective Service issued to each man at the time he
registered. For many years there were in fact two cards: the
Registration Certificate and the Notice of Classification.
When Selective Service began to store records on computer
tapes in the early 1970s the two cards were combined into
one computer-generated Status Card. At no time was the card
officially titled "draft card," but it was by this
colloquial name that the proof of registration was usually
Service Regulations required each registrant to have his card
in his possession at all times. This requirement was removed
from the regulations in late 1974, shortly before registration
was suspended, and it has not been reinstituted.
registration was resumed in 1980, the matter of issuing some
type of "draft card" was carefully studied. Based
on previous experience, the decision was made to issue a Registration
Acknowledgment to registrants as evidence of their registration
and not to require that the proof of registration be carried.
the passage of the Solomon Amendment linking registration
to federal student aid, the Workforce Investment Act making
registration a requirement for receiving training benefits,
the Thurmond Amendment requiring registration as a prerequisite
for appointment to federal employment, and numerous provisions
in connection with local employment standards, it became evident
that many registrants might need proof of registration in
a form which was convenient to carry. Therefore, the Registration
Acknowledgment was modified in 1983 so that all personal information
about the registrant would be printed in a wallet-size box.
The registrant may detach and carry it in his wallet if he
wishes, as a convenience to him, but he is not required to
the new version of the Registration Acknowledgment came into
use, there were some allegations that the issuance of cards
was the first step toward a resumption of the draft. That
is not so. The "card" is simply for the convenience
of the registrant. It is important to keep in mind that only
Congress can authorize a draft - regardless of whether or
not some form of card is being issued. Nothing in the law,
regulations or operating procedures makes the issuance of
cards a necessary step in the resumption of induction authority.