PORTLAND, Ore. — The government agency in charge of instituting a United States military draft took to Twitter Saturday to explain why its website had been sporadically crashing since the day prior.
Blaming “the spread of misinformation," officials with the Selective Service System said the site had been experiencing “high traffic volumes” and assured users officials were conducting “business as usual."
The spike in searches came hours after it was announced Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, was killed in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad airport early Friday.
Despite the fact that no war had been declared, the phrase “World War III” quickly began trending on social media.
Per the SSS, the re-authorization of a draft would require action from both the president and Congress.
If and when that happens, officials would then implement a “draft lottery” like they did during the Vietnam War.
The registry system for the lottery is always up to date.
Per federal law, men are required to register for Selective Service when they turn 18, and their name is kept in it until they're 25.
Men within that age range who have signed up for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, are automatically added to the list.
That agency also tweeted out the confusion Friday, assuring recipients they would not be prioritized in the event of a draft.
Beyond that, registration methods and effectiveness, though, vary from state to state.
While some have automatic registration systems tied to drivers license and even public education records, Oregon’s is entirely voluntary said Mike Kalberg, director of the state’s Selective Service System.
“We have the distinction of being very close to the bottom, if not at the absolute bottom, of all the states and territories in terms of our registration numbers for young men,” he said via phone Sunday, adding officials have tried and failed to implement more automatic registration systems in Oregon. “It seems like every time I start doing something like [that], people go ‘Well, wait a minute. Are we going to have a draft? What’s going on?’”
According to the SSS website, in 2011, Washington became the 39th state to enact a driver’s license legislation supporting Selective Service registration.
He added the federal penalties for not registering, a felony charge carrying up to five years in prison and/or $250,000 in fines, is “basically not enforced”, so motivation to change Oregon’s standing in the registration rates is low.
There have been national pushes to change other aspects of the system.
In February, a federal judge ruled it was unconstitutional to only register men.
In the wake of that decision, the agency said they’d wait to start requiring women to register until they received an order from Congress or a court.
And a few weeks ago, Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced a bill to repeal the Military Selective Service Act and abolish the system altogether.
It’s a move he’s made several times before.
This latest version is currently sitting in the House Armed Services Committee.
So, we can Verify: Yes, eventually there could be a draft, but that would take action from both the president and Congress. Also, state to state, it varies as to whether men between 18 and 25 would be eligible.