Senate Joins House in Proposal for ‘Automatic’ Draft Registration

A Contrary to earlier reports, the U.S. Senate has joined the House of Representatives in moving toward a foolhardy attempt to ‘automatically’ register all draft-eligible U.S. citizens and residents for a possible military draft, by extracting and aggregating information obtained from other Federal agencies.

The proposal for “automatic” draft registration is among several previously-undisclosed provisions related to Selective Service in the newly-release version of the National Defense [sic] Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2025 approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and to be considered by the full Senate.

Continue reading “Senate Joins House in Proposal for ‘Automatic’ Draft Registration”

Draft Bills Dead in California But Still Alive in Congress

A proposal to automatically register applicants for California driver’s licenses with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft was pulled by its author, Sen. Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), just before a scheduled hearing today in the state Assembly Transportation Committee. This was the last scheduled meeting of that committee before the deadline for consideration of bills in this year’s legislative session, so the bill is effectively dead for the year.

Like similar laws in other states, California SB-1081 faced opposition from a coalition of peace, civil liberties, and immigrant rights organizations, on both policy and fiscal grounds. Pulling the bill before the hearing today was a face-saving way for Sen. Archuleta to avoid a vote by the committee not to advance his bill to the Assembly floor.

Continue reading “Draft Bills Dead in California But Still Alive in Congress”

Rep. Houlahan Fails To Justify Move Toward a Draft

“I have an amendment at the desk.” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan introduces a proposal from the Selective Service System to automate draft registration in the House Armed Services Commiteee, May 22, 2024.

Under fire for proposing an ill-considered amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to “automatically” register all young men in the U.S. for a possible military draft, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) has issued a statement that casts more doubt on her understanding of the current draft law and on the wisdom of her proposed changes to Selective Service registration.

Continue reading “Rep. Houlahan Fails To Justify Move Toward a Draft”

Congress Debates Women and the Draft, but Not War and the Draft

“Firestorm erupts over requiring women to sign up for military draft”, reads the headline on a story today on TheHill.com.

Unfortunately, that firestorm amounts mostly to an exchange of sound bites and social-media posts, not a real debate, much less a hearing with independent witnesses, in either the House or Senate. It focuses on the proposal included in the Senate version of the annual National Defense [sic] Authorization Act (NDAA) to expand registration with the Selective Service System to include young women as well as young men, rather than on what may be a more significant proposal in the House version of the same bill to try to make draft registration automatic by basing the list of potential draftees on information aggregated from other Federal records rather than provided by registrants themselves — denying potential draftees the chance to indicate their opposition to being drafted, and to obstruct the mobilization for total war, by opting out of draft registration.

Most importantly, the current “debate” ignores both the profound and quite possibly insolvable practical problems with trying to compile a registry of potential draftees from other existing Federal databases, and the more fundamental issue with any contingency planning or preparation for a draft: the way that, even when a draft is not active, the perceived availability of a draft as a fallback emboldens warmakers to embark on wars that people wouldn’t volunteer to fight.

Continue reading “Congress Debates Women and the Draft, but Not War and the Draft”

Congress Moves Toward Automatic Registration for a Military Draft


[Excerpt from the summary released by the Senate Armed Services Committee of the version of the NDAA for FY 2025 approved by the SASC and to be voted on by the full Senate.]

A proposal to expand registration for a possible military draft to young women as well as young men is moving forward again this year in Congress, along with a seductively simple-seeming but in practice unfeasible proposal to switch from the current system in which young men are required to register with the Selective Service System (SSS) to a system in which the SSS tries to identify and locate everyone eligible for a future draft and automatically register them based on other existing Federal databases from the Social Security Administration, IRS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, etc.

Friday both the U.S. Senate Armed Service Committee and the full U.S. House of Representatives approved different proposals to expand and/or make it harder to avoid the requirement for men ages 16-26 to register with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft.  The House vote was 217-199.

Continue reading “Congress Moves Toward Automatic Registration for a Military Draft”

US House Committee Proposes ‘Automatic’ Sign-Up for Military Draft

On Wednesday, during markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2025, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the NDAA that would automatically register all draft-aged male U.S. residents with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft, based on information from other Federal databases.

This system of automatic draft registration would replace the system in effect since 1980 in which young men can decide for themselves whether or not to sign up for the draft – and so many choose not to register that the Selective Service database would be useless for an actual draft.

The automatic draft registration proposal was instigated by the Selective Service System as part of its annual budget request to Congress, introduced in the HASC by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), “wholeheartedly” endorsed by HASC Chair Mike Rogers (R-AL), and approved by voice vote of the full committee without audible opposition.

Continue reading “US House Committee Proposes ‘Automatic’ Sign-Up for Military Draft”