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057 When must all men register for the Selective Service?

57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?
• At age eighteen (18)
• Between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26)

In the United States, military service (or the time spent working in the army) is voluntary (or optional and something that one chooses to do). Under normal
conditions, no one has to serve in the army if he or she doesn’t want to. However, all men between the ages of 18 and 26 must register (or sign up for) the Selective Service, which is a part of the U.S. government that tries to find enough people to fight in a war or other national emergency (or a major problem that was not expected).

The Selective Service keeps a list of names of all the men who are registered for the Selective Service. If there is a war or another national emergency, the Selective Service will have a draft, which means that names are chosen at random (or with all of the names having an equal chance of being selected) to find out who will fight. We say that the people whose names are picked have been drafted for the war.

In a war or national emergency, men who are drafted go through several tests that determine whether or not they are ready to fight for their country. Those who pass the tests then must serve in the army. Those who don’t pass the tests can go back home.

Some people do not want to fight because they believe that war is wrong, often because of their religious beliefs. These people are called conscientious
objectors. Conscientious objectors must also register for the Selective Service. The Selective Service creates an Alternative Service Program for those conscientious objectors so that they will do good work to help communities in the United States while other men are drafted for war.

Registration with the Selective Service is required by law. Young men who do not register with the Selective Service have a lot of problems. For example, they cannot apply for federal jobs (or jobs in the national government) or get federal scholarships, which is money given to students to help pay for their education. Also, people from other countries cannot become U.S. citizens unless they register for the Selective Service.


military service – the period of time when a person works in the armed forces (organization with soldiers who fight for a country)
* He spent most of his military service in Central Asian countries.

voluntary – optional; something that one chooses to do but does not have to do
* Donating money to the church is voluntary, but highly encouraged.

to register – to sign up for something; to put one's name on a list to be able to do something
* Have you registered for swimming lessons?

emergency – a major problem that was not expected
* Hurricane Katrina created an emergency situation in New Orleans, Louisiana.

draft – the process of forcing young people to join the military during a war
* Gerardo never would have joined the army if he hadn't been called in the draft.

at random – happening without a plan or pattern; with all things having an equal likelihood of happening or being selected
* The sociologists called people at random to ask them their opinion about drug use.

conscientious objector – a person who does not join the military or fight in a war because he or she believes that war is wrong, often because of his or her religious beliefs
* As a conscientious objector, Artie didn't fight in the war, but instead helped to build roads in the United States.

scholarship – money given to a student to help pay for his or her education, usually because he or she doesn't have very much money and/or is a very good student or athlete
* Stanley received a $10,000 scholarship to attend Nebraska State University.