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Historical Timeline

1980 - Present

Out of Deep Standby

In late 1979, a series of revival efforts began in an effort to upgrade the Selective Service System's capability for rapid mobilization in an emergency. In the summer of 1980 the registration requirement was resumed.

1976 - 1980

Deep Standby

Registration was suspended in early 1975 and the Selective Service System entered into a "deep standby" position.


Vietnam War

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. presence in Vietnam expanded with increasing intensity. The Selective Service encountered protest about unfair deferments fueled by an anti-war sentiment. The Selective Service provided 20% of the men in uniform during the Vietnam War. Total # inducted: 1,857,304 The last man inducted entered the Army on June 30, 1973.

1950 – 1953

Korean War

President Truman authorizes the Armed Forces to use the draft if necessary during the Korean crisis. The Selective Service provided 27% of the men in uniform during the Korean War. As a result of the Physicians and Dentists Draft Act, 7,054 physicians and 3,799 dentists are delivered by Selective Service to the Armed Forces. Less than 50 of them were actually inducted. Total # inducted: 1,529,539

1947 – 1949

Cold War

The Selective Service Training and Service Act expired in 1947. Only a year later, at President Truman’s request, new peacetime draft legislation was passed to supplement voluntary recruiting.


World War II

On September 16, 1940, the Selective Service Training and Service Act (the nation’s first peacetime draft law) was signed. By the end of the war, over 45 million men between the ages of 18 and 64 had been registered. 15 million of the men who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII, approximately 66% were inducted. Total # inducted: 10,110,104


World War I

The first national conscription system comes into being in 1917. Congress passes a draft law based on “the liability to military service of all male citizens.” The law authorized a draft of men between the ages of 21 and 31. A new classification system gave the newly created local boards a set of guidelines to determine which men should be drafted. Total # inducted: 2,810,296


Civil War

The War department was put in charge of executing the draft. All military groups were instructed to visit homes in search of eligible males. The Enrollment Act of 1863 involuntarily called men to service. Quotas were established by districts, but rarely were filled. At this time there was no organized selection process put into place.

Prior 1861

Prior to Civil War

Each state maintained its own militia, with limited Federal direction guidance or regulation. All able bodied men of military age (18-45) would enroll with very lax requirements. Citizen’s willingness to serve was given priority over liability.