Selective Service still important

To the editor:

As a volunteer for the United States Selective Service System for nearly a decade, I currently serve as a local board member in Jefferson County. Registration in the Selective Service System is a critical element of our national security and defense, it’s important to communities and it is critical to all young men living in the country. Simply put, registration is a law, a civic duty and assures that men can apply for college loans, access job training programs and be eligible for all federal and postal jobs as well as many municipal and contractor positions throughout the country.

Selective Service is a small independent federal agency charged with registering young men for a possible military draft. No one has been drafted since 1975, but President Jimmy Carter reinstated registration in 1980 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Since then, men born after 1959 are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Doing so ensures a young man remains eligible for benefits tied to the registration requirement. For instance, a man must be registered to qualify for federal student financial aid for college, federal job training and federal employment. Also, many states have tied their state student financial aid assistance programs to the registration requirement.

Selective Service has an extensive public awareness campaign to help educate young men about their responsibility to register. The agency releases public service announcements for radio and television, and will send reminder notices informing men of their responsibility. By law, a man must register within 30 days of turning 18, but the agency can accept a man’s registration up until he turns 26, at which time the door to many benefits tied to registration will be closed permanently.

Despite the agency’s efforts to educate men, too many of them fail to register, which negatively impacts a young man’s future. I’m asking you today to help get the word out about registering with Selective Service — your efforts will positively impact a man’s future and provide a great service to your country. Men 18 through 25 must register, including immigrants and male U.S. citizens living overseas. They can register online (at sss.gov) or at their local United States post office (usps.com).

May God bless America.

Jim Mello



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