February 1980

18-year-olds to be drafted?
by Katie R.

   As a result of the many international problems our country is facing, President Carter has requested a registration for all males ages 18-26. First, however, there must be Congressional approval to re-enforce this registration. If it is approved, registration could begin within several months. A final decision has not yet been released.
   Registration is a means of forming a list of eligible men who would serve in the military if needed. Once you register it does not mean that you will automatically have to go to war. A draft may follow, which will then call upon men to report to certain bases for military training.
   There are mixed emotions about the registration. Several books have been published criticizing the draft used in the United States. Many feel that a registration would immediately lead to a draft. Others believe that because of a registration the list of available men would be prepared and, if necessary, men could be immediately sent out for training.
   There are several different systems used in determining who will enter the service after the registration. A lottery has been one method used in the past. To be eligible for military service, a person must first pass both a physical and a mental test. Several situations exclude men from having to serve:

   enrolled in college (full-time)
   physical defects or diseases
   ministers or divinity students
   public officials
   skilled workers in an essential industry

   After registering, a man will be notified if he is not required to serve and will be taken off the list.
   The maximum penalty for not registering is steep. A person may be fined $10,000 or be sentenced to five years in prison. You must register within five days of your 18th birthday.
   The age requirements for registration may change. There are approximately 16 million men and 16 million women between the ages of 18 and 26. The ages could be changed to 18-20 or 19-21. The registration program would run $22 million.