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When a young man reaches 18 he can go to any of the 35,000 post offices nationwide to register with Selective Service. There he completes a simple registration card and mails it to the Selective Service System. This begins a multi-step process which results in the man’s registration.

Each week approximately 6,000 completed registration cards are sent to the Selective Service System's Data Management System (DMC) near Chicago, Ill. At the DMC these cards are grouped into manageable quantities. Each card is then microfilmed and stamped with a sequential document locator number. The processed microfilm is reviewed to account for all documents and to ensure that the film quality is within strict standards. After microfilming, the cards are keyed and then verified by a different data transcriber.

Magnetic tapes, containing all information keyed from the registration cards, are produced for processing by the computer center. The registration records go through a series of computer validation checks resulting in either registration or placement onto a computerized error file. If the computer accepts all the information, the registrant is issued an acknowledgment of registration. If an error is detected at any point in processing the information is reprocessed or a letter is sent to the registrant requesting clarification.

All processing follows a published schedule. The time required to process a registration, from the date the registration form is completed at the post office, to the date the acknowledgment of registration is generated, averages approximately 4 weeks. Regulations and mobilization readiness require that processing take no more than 90 days.

Updating this data base requires continual changes and maintenance to remain accurate and usable. Over one million changes, mostly to addresses, are processed each year.


Last Updated August 6, 2008
©2012 Selective Service System