The Draft

What is the Draft and Why it Matters

2020 is off to an interesting start. The killing of Qassim Suleimani, a military leader for Iran, has taken the internet by storm. Seemingly harmless internet jokes and memes being made surrounding the start of “World War III” and talk of the draft have taken over social media.

Of course, it’s all fun and humorous until people begin to actually fear the emergence of an actual world war and reinsertion of military conscription. But knowing what the draft actually is might take away some of the fear instilled by the jokes found in numerous social media platforms. 

In 1940, anticipating WWII, the United States implemented the Selective Training and Service Act mandating all men ages 18 to 45 to register for the draft. Men selected from the draft lottery were then required to serve one year in the armed forces. When the U.S. joined WWII, 50 million men served that had been selected from the draft lottery. 

Surrounding the time of the Vietnam War, 1960s anti-war protests mainly consisting of college students, began arising in the U.S. With Nixon as President. In 1973, the U.S. converted to an all-volunteer military, but registration to selective service was still a requirement until 1975 when it was suspended. Then, with Carter as President, registration became a requirement yet again in reaction to the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan.

Although the U.S. maintains the Selective Registration Requirement for men ages 18 to 26 today, the government can only reinstate the draft incase of national emergency which has not become present considering the current conflicts with Iran. 

And to further relieve the dispute between the U.S. and Iran, President Donald Trump has released a statement claiming there will be no further military conflict with Iran. “The United States is willing to embrace peace with all who seek it,” says Trump. 

So no, this is not the beginning of World War III, and a draft will not be reinstated. The conflict with Iran, for the most part, has been resolved as of now. 


The Draft and World War II [Fact sheet]. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2020, from The National World War II Museum website:

How the Draft has Changed Since Vietnam [Fact sheet]. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2020, from Selective Service System website:

Selective Service. (n.d.). In USAGov. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from

Selective Service System. (2020, January 8). Retrieved January 10, 2020, from Wikipedia website:

United States Imposes the Draft. (2009, November 5). Retrieved January 10, 2020, from History website: