OPINION: The Draft: What is it and why you probably won’t get drafted

Joey Arthur, Reporter

*Columns are the opinions of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wichitan as an organization.*

In light of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, tensions have been rising not just in Europe but also in the United States. Talks of World War III have been circulating.  I am here to tell you what the draft is and why you probably won’t be getting drafted anytime soon.

The Conscription in the United States, most commonly known as the draft, is a contingency plan to fill in vacancies in the American military when needed with males ages 18 to 25 in the event of a war against the United States. The draft has been utilized six times throughout American history, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, The Korean War, and The Vietnam War.

Under Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, 10 U.S. Code § 246, and The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 has set the criteria, classifications and permitted deference for the draft.

The draft is a contingency plan which means it is the United States’ last resort if the military ever gets overwhelmed or short on numbers during and only during a war directly against the United States and their interests and territories. Keep in mind, the United States ranks first in the world in military strength and technological advantage. We rival Russia for the number one spot in the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, and the United States spends more on the military than Russia, China and India, combined. With all these, I wouldn’t worry about getting drafted into a conflict the U.S. isn’t even involved in. Another key point is that, per the draft, only men from the ages 18 to 25 can be drafted.

If the draft was ever instated by Congress, all men ages 18 to 25 are eligible but to that, I must add that you also have to be a citizen of the United States and the territories (except American Samoa) or an immigrant (documented, undocumented and refugees) living in the United States. You must also be mentally, physically and morally fit for the military to be drafted. If you are handicapped but can function in public without assistance, you are eligible for the draft. If you are also assigned male at birth but transitioned and are now a female, you are eligible to be drafted but probably won’t be instated into the military. If you were also assigned male at birth and now identify as non-binary, you are also eligible for the draft.

Now that you know the criteria, here are some of the instances the United States will let you either temporarily or permanently defer if you were to be drafted. If you are a high school student (whether regular or dual enrollment) you can temporarily defer your draft till you turn 20 or graduate high school, whichever comes first. If you are a college student, you can defer your draft temporarily until you finish whatever semester you are enrolled in college for or if you are in your last year, you can defer until the academic year is over. If anyone depends on you like a child (infant to 17) or a senior citizen (65 and above) or even a pregnant spouse or if you are expecting a child, you can permanently defer your draft. If you are a student of any ministry, you can defer your draft until you complete your studies. If you have or are associated with any occupation that promotes national health, safety, or interest or is related to war promotion or in agriculture, you can defer your draft permanently. If you are a minister at any ministry or if you are an elected and/or public official, you are exempted from being drafted. If you are here on a student visa or work visa, you are exempt from being drafted and if you have dual citizenship, you can be exempted but it depends on American foreign relations with the country you hold another citizenship. If you are currently incarcerated or have a criminal felony record, you are ineligible for the draft. If you are hospitalized or institutionalized (physically or mentally), you are exempted from being drafted. If you are a conscientious objector(publicly oppose war of any kind) for personal or religious reasons, you can permanently defer being drafted. Finally, if you are were assigned female at birth but now identify as a male or non-binary, you are exempted from the draft.

All those reasons are ample to satiate any worries or concerns you may have with being drafted for war.  Plus, the fact that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has nothing to do with the United States and will only become a U.S. issue if the war seeps into NATO borders. Finally, I would like to state that the draft works on a basis of a national lottery in which birthdays are chosen.  If your birthday falls on the chosen date, then you are chosen. The probabilities of you getting drafted are less than 4 percent.