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house Bill H.R. 4523

Has the Selective Service System Outlived Its Usefulness?

Argument in favor

No one should have to go to war against his will. The United States has produced a strong, all-volunteer military without using the draft since 1973.

Bunce1982's Opinion
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02/21/2016
The United States has not used the selective service AKA the "draft" since the Vietnam war. Even now the U.S. Only uses a small portion of active duty military to fight wars. Our guard and reserve units are supposed to be our backup plan but are used primarily as the U.S. Fighting
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CheyenneHall's Opinion
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03/10/2016
$23 million dollars is much too high of a yearly cost for an act that hasn't been necessary to be implemented for decades.
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Brent's Opinion
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02/19/2016
End the barbaric practice of slavery to the state all together.
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Argument opposed

The draft is the United States' insurance policy against a major crisis. It would be dangerous to jeopardize our ability to defend ourselves.

BTSundra's Opinion
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02/19/2016
In a major crisis, all who reap the benefits of freedom should be eligible to fight for it.
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Kat's Opinion
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02/28/2016
Yes we do need the insurance policy… And the women as well… When want equal rights so that's how that one plays… We have to really be careful for what we are asking for… I don't want equal rights down the middle… We should be able to do what we want for each individual. That's why were a free society… I know some pretty burly big strong women and yeah they could be on the fighting line I know some fire women/police officers/Graham and military… More power to them still think either husband or wife should be home raising the children
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ClydeK's Opinion
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05/03/2016
This is our insurance policy should we need to do a rapid mobilization of manpower. Our Guard and Reservists provide the immediate backup to our active duty forces but it can take time to do very large mobilization beyond our active duty and Reservists/Guard. That would be filled by the activation of the draft.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4523?

This bill would repeal the Military Selective Service Act and abolish the Selective Service draft.

Currently, American men (and male non-citizens living in the US) between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to register with the Selective Service System. This provides the United States with a backup plan if the U.S. military were ever to experience a shortage of volunteer soldiers. If that happened, Congress could pass (and the President could sign) legislation to reinstate the draft, and young men would be selected at random to enter the armed forces.

This bill would abolish the Selective Service System and end the registration requirement. In addition, men who failed to register in the past could no longer be penalized with the loss of any “right, privilege, benefit, or employment position,” such as access to federal student loans.

The draft has not been used since 1973, during the Vietnam War. After Vietnam, registration was disbanded entirely until 1980, when President Jimmy Carter reintroduced the system in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Registration has been a requirement for young men even since, although the draft has not been needed or used in the Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, or Iraq War.

This legislation would give the Selective Service System 180 days to shut down and turn over any “assets, contracts, property, and records” to the Administrator of General Services. Current employees would receive assistance transferring to other positions in the executive branch.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4523

The legislation states the Selective Service System currently costs $23 million a year.

More Information

In Depth: This reconsideration of the draft system is partially due to the inclusion of women in military combat roles. In January 2016, the military opened up its last remaining combat roles to women. The following month, two senior military officials told Congress they believe it’s time to require women to register for the draft. (The exclusion of women from certain military roles had long been used as a reason for their exclusion from the draft.)

The renewed conversation about drafting women has led some experts and politicians to consider the necessity of a draft at all — including Sponsoring Rep. Mike Coffman, who stated:

“Now that women are eligible to serve in combat roles and Congress debates how to proceed on the issue of draft inclusion, we should consider a full draft repeal of the draft and the abolition of the Selective Service.”

Of Note: Rep. Coffman told the Denver Post that the draft did not seem to be implemented fairly during the Vietnam War:

“It seemed that those that came from influential or wealthy families always managed to navigate their way out military service during that time. And those I think from working class families disproportionately bore the brunt of that fighting.”

It is true that disproportionate rates of minorities and people of lower income and education levels were drafted to Vietnam — although these disparities exist in our current, all-volunteer military as well.

(Photo Credit: The U.S. National Archives/ Wikimedia Commons )

Official Title

To repeal the Military Selective Service Act, and thereby terminate the registration requirements of such Act and eliminate civilian local boards, civilian appeal boards, and similar local agencies of the Selective Service System.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Armed Services
      Military Personnel
    IntroducedFebruary 10th, 2016
    The United States has not used the selective service AKA the "draft" since the Vietnam war. Even now the U.S. Only uses a small portion of active duty military to fight wars. Our guard and reserve units are supposed to be our backup plan but are used primarily as the U.S. Fighting
    Like (7)
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    In a major crisis, all who reap the benefits of freedom should be eligible to fight for it.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    End the barbaric practice of slavery to the state all together.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes we do need the insurance policy… And the women as well… When want equal rights so that's how that one plays… We have to really be careful for what we are asking for… I don't want equal rights down the middle… We should be able to do what we want for each individual. That's why were a free society… I know some pretty burly big strong women and yeah they could be on the fighting line I know some fire women/police officers/Graham and military… More power to them still think either husband or wife should be home raising the children
    Like (4)
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    Share
    $23 million dollars is much too high of a yearly cost for an act that hasn't been necessary to be implemented for decades.
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    Pretty much so. But since men must register, isn't it fair that women should be registered. Registration doesn't equal serving. But certainly men can only do certain jobs.
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    This is our insurance policy should we need to do a rapid mobilization of manpower. Our Guard and Reservists provide the immediate backup to our active duty forces but it can take time to do very large mobilization beyond our active duty and Reservists/Guard. That would be filled by the activation of the draft.
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    It should be expanded to include women!!!
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    We need to reinstate the universal draft. We have decided to be afraid & to hate everyone who isn't white in a world of brown people. All evidence points to the US being at constant war for many generations. If this is our national choice then EVERYONE NEEDS TO PARTICIPATE! Men & women, rich & poor. As is stands now, only the poor go to war. And they go for 10 tours, come home in either physical or mental condition that is VERY expensive to treat. Congress has refused to pass veterans' legislation but increases the defense budget & campaigns pushing fear & hate. This is serving us badly. It cannot go on indefinitely! Bring back the draft!
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    It's the only way we'll get Liberals to do their part defending our country!
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    Our government must know how to rapidly expand our military should the need arise. Nobody needs to go to war against his will? How about the same for paying taxes? Paying into SS? Buying a product called health insurance? I don't see those as optional. People who think U.S. citizens are not constantly in danger of invading armies are ignorant of world history.
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    No! We need the draft, in fact, I'm for compulsory military service for ALL men and women between ages 18 & 21. Perhaps they would better appreciate the freedoms they enjoy earned by the blood and sacrifice of those who came before them.
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    We need in case of war.
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    I've said it once, and I'll say it again. GET. RID. OF. THE. GOD. DAMN. DRAFT. Just look at Vietnam! We start drafting, people become OUTRAGED. Even a portion of Vietnam veterans didn't supmort the war. If the American people ain't willing to support a war, then how in the HELL would forcing them to fight magically make them support it? If at minimum 85% of the public don't support a war, then a war should never occur in the first place, that is, unless you actually want an even higher level of anti-war mentalities spread than Vietnam. If we, the American people, want a war, we will make our battle cry and line up at recruiting stations rather than wait to be handed draft papers. Any form of military service by requirement in the United States should be made illegal, as well as an amendment made to the Constitution forbidding any form of conscription.
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    I still believe everyone should not only sign up for the draft but the draft should still be active. I feel everyone should serve at least two years in the armed forces. It should be a honor to serve, it would also help those who are not sure what they would like to do in their future. It was a honor for me to have served with fellows from all walks of life and educations. I feel it helped me with my career and respect for other individuals as well as our country.
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    Compulsory service is slavery. I am not owned by the state. Service to one's country should always be voluntary.
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    Before world war 1 we believed that we were too modern for war or major conflicts. Obviously that was false. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.
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    All should serve, it would be a real education for those who drop out
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    If we need them, they should go to war against their will or move to Canada.
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    It is a bigoted system
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