How the Draft Works and if you Should be Worried 


The United States Selective Service System is the name given to the United States Draft. The Draft is a system of conscription where boys can be drafted into military service in times of major conflict. (Image edited in Photoshop by Dylan Tressider. Original photos used: American Flag , SSS Seal)

Dylan Tressider, Review Staff

What are the odds of the big bad government sending you a letter and handing you a rifle? With recent memes and threats of war, it’s hard not to be at least a little worried about a situation where this could happen.

For those who don’t know, the United States Selective Service System, better known as simply, “The Draft,” is a system of conscription where boys who live in the United States must fill out a form after they reach the age of 18. This form, essentially serves as a document proving a person is registered and capable of being drafted into the U.S. Armed Services. The United States has only drafted men into service during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and both the Vietnam and Korean wars.

In spite of the few situations where the U.S. draft has ever been used, there has been some chatter and fear circulating about people being drafted for a World War III following President Donald Trump’s airstrike and consequent killing of Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani.

With all this turmoil festering in the Middle East and some boys over the age of 18 who have registered for the draft at Rangeview, some are becoming genuinely concerned that they could be drafted. With all of this fear and confusion, an important lingering question must be asked: Will you get drafted? However, before this question can be answered, it’s important to first understand how the draft works.

Army and Marine uniforms are displayed just outside of the CCC. If an individual is drafted, they would most likely end up in one of these two branches. (Dylan Tressider)

How Does the Draft Work?

Despite the fear that surrounds the draft, many people don’t actually know how it works. 

Staff Sergeant (SSG) Tressider who works at Buckley AFB in Human Resources said, “You register for the draft when you turn 18. You’re given a number and if the draft was to occur, they choose random numbers. If yours is chosen you are notified and must report. But, Congress did away with the draft years ago, and to be drafted it has to be reinstated.”

According to the Selective Service System (SSS) themselves, the selection will begin with two air mix drums. One drum will be full of balls that have the numbers 1-365 (or 366 if men born in leap years are included) and they will be mixed. They contain the date of every single day of the year on them. Then, the second drum is also filled and mixed and this drum will contain numbers 1-365 (or 366) as well. Men turning the age of 20 that year have first priority in the draft.

What happens next is first a random birthdate is selected. (For those who are turning 20, because they are first priority) and then a second number from the next drum is selected also numbered 1-365 (or 366). Suppose the date selected is April 13th, and the number selected is 47, then those men who are turning 20 on April 13th will have 47th priority among all the other 20 year olds, and will only be called in to serve after those birthdays which got numbers 1-46 are called in. 

In this way, the Selective Service Lottery is a game of chance. After the age of 20, you may be called in to serve, but you also may not be. Those who turn age 20 that year are drafted first.


With all things, there are some people who are excluded from the lottery. According to the SSS, women are always the first exclusion, and high school students are considered safe from the lottery and cannot be drafted until they either graduate or reach the age of 20, whichever comes first. The service just gets postponed. So, no need for high school students to worry. Unfortunately though, that is only until they graduate. A highschool student, theoretically, can still be drafted.

Other exclusions include those who serve as Ministers, certain elected officials (No Private Donald Trump in the Army), and those who must serve in non-combatant ways due to their religious beliefs.


Though the threat always remains, it is unlikely the draft would be reinstated any time soon. While it’s a scary thought, Uncle Sam probably won’t be on billboards pointing at you any time soon. Wikimedia Commons

Do You Need to Be Worried?

As mentioned earlier, no highschooler has to be worried about the draft as long as he is in high school. Even still, some highschoolers are still afraid of it happening in the future. For example, Sophomore Trey Tisdale said, “Yes I’m worried [for the draft] because then my life would be at risk and it could happen.” 

However, Raiders, you’re safe! But, for those who are ages 20-25 there is a possibility of being drafted. Luckily for them, no large scale conflict is likely to erupt any time soon, and even if a war with Iran were to break out, this would most likely not constitute the reinstatement of the draft. As SSG Tressider added, “We’re not in a big war, so there’s no reason to worry about being drafted right now.” 

So, really, there’s no need to worry! Those who are worried about being drafted while in high school can relax, as long as smooth sailing continues and there is no World War III, there is no reason to be afraid of being drafted even if you’ve already graduated.