#1
Old 04-12-2005, 08:28 AM
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Ask the Draft Board member.

Selective Service local board member, actually. The local board is for a large county in Northern Virginia, and I recently completed training for the position.

There was interest expressed before in a thread of this nature, given the popularity of this topic on these boards.

I'll answer questions about Selective Service policies as I understand them, board procedures, and my own motivations for volunteering for this position. Debates about the draft are probably best suited for another thread. I'll also happily discuss conscientious objectors, as it is local boards that interview men seeking this status and determine their status.

I'll answer the biggest question right away - the boards are currently in standby, and there has been no indications whatsoever of any draft. As any change in this status will have to come from Congress, it's likely we'll get lots of warning prior to any startup of conscription.

Any takers?
#2
Old 04-12-2005, 08:35 AM
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I thought the title said 'Daft'.

How daft.
#3
Old 04-12-2005, 08:36 AM
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#1- Do you feel like the Maytag repairman?

#2- Is color blindness something that can get you out of the draft?

#3- How would you know if someone did not register for the draft?

#4- If someone declared homosexuality, would that get them out of the draft? Would you make any attempt to verify such a claim?
#4
Old 04-12-2005, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobLibDem
#1- Do you feel like the Maytag repairman?

#2- Is color blindness something that can get you out of the draft?

#3- How would you know if someone did not register for the draft?

#4- If someone declared homosexuality, would that get them out of the draft? Would you make any attempt to verify such a claim?
#1 - No, but only because I don't get a nice uniform like his.

If I'm ever called, this work will be considered important enough. I like things nice and peaceful, though, so I'm content to wait in readiness.

#2 - Color blindness can keep you out of some military specialties, but not others. It depends on the type and severity of it, and all this is determined by the Military Entrance Processing Station, not a local draft board.

#3 - Local boards aren't enforcement arms of the Selective Service. We don't know if someone hasn't registered. That's handled by the national office.

In Virginia, registration rates are quite high, since Virginia automatically registers drivers license applicants. Other states do this too.

#4 - Again, determinations of fitness for service are made by MEPS, and that does include claims of homosexuality. This is affected by the "don't ask, don't tell" rule in place since the 1990's, and has been debated pretty well here in the past.
#5
Old 04-12-2005, 09:08 AM
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#5- How does one get on the local board? Suppose there are more volunteers for the local board than places for them- how do they determine who gets on?

#6- Does it pay anything?
#6
Old 04-12-2005, 09:19 AM
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#5 - Actually, Selective Service has been trying to fill vacancies. At the time I applied, there were three unfilled places on a five member board.

We now have a full board. The other two appointments were in my training class with me.

#6 - The position is a volunteer one only, a violation of a promise I made after I got out of the Navy to not volunteer for anything ever again.

I'm still waiting for $28 the government owes me for lunch and mileage for the day of training that I had.
#7
Old 04-12-2005, 10:34 AM
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I'll keep the discussion rolling.

Most determinations of things like student deferments, surviving son exemption, exemption for prior service, reserve service, or service in a foreign military are all handled by a Selective Service area office, with some of their decisions appealable to a local board.

The local board automatically handles cases of conscientious objection, hardship, ministry students and ministers of religion. These cases are decided according to evidence provided, witness testimony, and testimony of the affected individual in an informal setting.

The judgements of the area office and the local board are appealable to a District appeal Board, and also to a National Appeal Board. The decision of this board is considered final unless constitutional questions are raised that the courts can address.
#8
Old 04-12-2005, 10:38 AM
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I've always been curious-how soon after the naturalization process does the Draft Board send eligible new citizens their card?
#9
Old 04-12-2005, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Moto
Most determinations of things like student deferments, surviving son exemption, exemption for prior service, reserve service, or service in a foreign military are all handled by a Selective Service area office, with some of their decisions appealable to a local board.

The local board automatically handles cases of conscientious objection, hardship, ministry students and ministers of religion. These cases are decided according to evidence provided, witness testimony, and testimony of the affected individual in an informal setting.
Evidently, because the latter are things that can be verified better at a local level -- e.g. is this guy really a minister of a church, as opposed to someone who got a ULC ordination over the Web, and his congregation is his Frat House . While the ones in the first paragraph can be checked out better agency-to-agency.
#10
Old 04-12-2005, 10:48 AM
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Do you guys have any duties now, or are you just waiting for the time when/if the draft will be reinstated? How often do you meet? In your last post you mentioned exemptions. Is this something people are dealing with now, or will it wait until people are actually drafted?
#11
Old 04-12-2005, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Borgia
Do you guys have any duties now, or are you just waiting for the time when/if the draft will be reinstated? How often do you meet? In your last post you mentioned exemptions. Is this something people are dealing with now, or will it wait until people are actually drafted?
Duties now are to keep up with training, which we accomplish by meeting roughly annually.

Deferments and exemptions will only be handled if there is an actual draft. Right now everybody should have the same status - registrants.
#12
Old 04-12-2005, 10:58 AM
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Does having Asperger's Syndrome make one draft-ineligible?
#13
Old 04-12-2005, 11:01 AM
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Questions of medical and psychological fitness, as well as screening for felony convictions, are handled by the military itself at the MEPS.

Asperger's would be dealt with there.
#14
Old 04-12-2005, 11:08 AM
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In the Vietnam era, one major point of contention was the student deferment system. In theory, this was supposed to allow someone to serve after completing their studies. In practice, it became a vehicle to allow lots of men to avoid service entirely.

In response to this, the law has since been changed. If you're a college senior, you will be allowed to finish the academic year. Others will be allowed to finish the semester. High school students will get a deferment until their graduation date or their 20th birthday, whichever comes first.

Instead of finishing school and then serving, the thinking now is that you can finish school after your service. Considering that the draft will take place only in a national emergency, IMO, this system seems much more fair.
#15
Old 04-12-2005, 11:16 AM
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How would you, personally, respond if Gordon Ligh-, I mean, if a new version of the Catonsville Nine showed up, either now, or if a draft should come to pass?
Quote:
May 1968- Father Philip Berrigan (a Josephine priest and WWII vet) and Daniel Berrigan (brother and Jesuit priest) along with seven other people were arrested and became the "Catonsville Nine." They went into a draft board office in Catonsville, Maryland, removed records, and set them on fire outside in the presence of reporters and onlookers. They were convicted and sentenced to prison. Daniel wrote in a "meditation":

"Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house...The time is past when good men can remain silent, when obedience can segregate men from public risk, when the poor can die without defense."
http://mdfilmfest.com/2001/opening_nite_photos.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Berrigan
Also, how would you respond to the original group, had you been a Draft Board member in the 60s?
#16
Old 04-12-2005, 11:27 AM
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The following are my own opinions.

As a board member, I am charged not only with obeying and upholding the law, but also with helping to protect and defend the rights of people who have to deal with the board.

It's an important process, and the rights and lives of people are at stake in it.

Given all that, I can't have much sympathy with anyone who would try to disrupt the work being done, especially given that, properly done, it is as much about keeping deserving people out of the military as putting them in.
#17
Old 04-12-2005, 03:09 PM
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Do you have to be a member of the military to serve on the draft board?
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#18
Old 04-12-2005, 03:16 PM
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In fact the opposite is true. Active duty and reserve military members cannot serve on local boards, nor can retired military members.

I'm a Navy veteran myself, but not retired, and my reserve obligation ran out a few years ago. So I'm eligible to serve on the board.
#19
Old 04-12-2005, 03:18 PM
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From the selective Service website, some requirements to be a board member are that they be:

U.S. citizens

at least 18 years old

not a retired or active member of the Armed Forces or any Reserve component

live in the area in which the board has jurisdiction

be willing to spend enough time at the position.
#20
Old 04-12-2005, 03:22 PM
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what are the other board members like? Would you say that they would be the type of people one might expect (e.g., "pro-military," more conservatives, etc) or might we be surpirsed by a hippie or two?
#21
Old 04-12-2005, 03:39 PM
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I've only met the two other board members who were in training with me, and I didn't get a feel for their political preferences. One of them was an older black gentleman, the other was a Chinese-born naturalized citizen.

Some of the folks in training were from other counties, and tended to be ex-military and male.

A more conservative board wouldn't be out of line with prevailing attitudes in my area, btw. My county is home to the Quantico Marine Base.

Application of standards to the job we have to do has to be done free of political bias, and I think the folks I met could do this pretty well.
#22
Old 04-12-2005, 10:27 PM
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Can you explain this "concientious objector" thing to me? (I'm female, so as of a draft now, I wouldn't be drafted anyway, but just in theory...)

I am against killing people. As in, I'm the sort of person who puts a bug outside rather than squashing it, and goes home in tears after a squirrel gets hit by a car. I believe that our foreign policy is wrong, war is bad, and killing people is not an acceptable way to solve world problems. I am, however, agnostic. Would I qualify for concientious objector status?
#23
Old 04-13-2005, 09:03 AM
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Sure.

There are two classes of conscientious objector, 1-O and 1-A-O. A 1-O has an objection to combatant and noncombatant military service based on moral, ethical or religious beliefs, or a combination of such. The claimant must be sincere in these beliefs, and this objection to participation in war must not be confined to a particular war.

All of this holds true for a 1-A-O objector, except that his objection extends only to combatant military service. His moral precepts will allow him to serve as a medic, for example, or as a clerk.

Objections to war that are based primarily in political, sociological or philosophical views rather than the previously stated moral, ethical and religious beliefs are a basis for rejection of this application, as is any indication that the claimant is insincere or concerned solely with his own well-being.

It is not necessary for anti-war moral precepts to be religiously based. Agnostics and atheists can claim CO status if these views are held sincerely.

It should be noted that becoming a CO does not relieve you of obligations to your country. A provision of the law is that alternate service must be performed, and this was strictly enforced during WWII, at least. The alternate service will be organized to conform as closely as possible with the moral needs of the CO's. If they aren't willing to perform that service, they can be prosecuted.
#24
Old 04-13-2005, 10:57 AM
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Mr. Moto --

About a year ago I went looking for information on who is on my local draft board. Though I'm a professional researcher, I was unable to find out who the local representatives are. The Selective Service certainly doesn't make it easy.

Is it public information? Where can it be found?

Best regards,

Mooney252
#25
Old 04-13-2005, 11:08 AM
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That I do not know. Sorry.

Apart from dealing with the Selective Service, I don't know who to point you to.
#26
Old 04-13-2005, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRDelirious
Evidently, because the latter are things that can be verified better at a local level -- e.g. is this guy really a minister of a church, as opposed to someone who got a ULC ordination over the Web, and his congregation is his Frat House . While the ones in the first paragraph can be checked out better agency-to-agency.
Just to clarify, Internet or mail-order ordinations generally won't keep you out of the service.
#27
Old 04-13-2005, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Moto
Objections to war that are based primarily in political, sociological or philosophical views rather than the previously stated moral, ethical and religious beliefs are a basis for rejection of this application, as is any indication that the claimant is insincere or concerned solely with his own well-being.
How does one distinguish between an "ethical belief" and a "philosophical view?" Does this mean that atheists can't be conscientious objectors?
#28
Old 04-13-2005, 01:17 PM
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Disregard that question. I see you covered it. Thanks.

(Damn my itchy "submit reply" finger.)
#29
Old 04-13-2005, 03:01 PM
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The sincerity of the beliefs of the claimant have to be weighed by the board members present. There can be cases when they disagree.

A quorum of three board members out of five must be present for the board to function, and a majority vote will hold.
#30
Old 04-13-2005, 04:15 PM
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Can women serve on draft boards even though they're exempt as a class from conscription? If so why? Also would a male-to-female transexual (post op) be considered a women and thus exempt from the draft?
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#31
Old 04-13-2005, 10:30 PM
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Women can obviously serve, since they can easily meet the requirements I listed above. A draft affects women as well, because of its effect on families and communities. It would be silly to bar women from this service just because they won't be drafted.

Transexual issues will be dealt with at the MEPS, not by a local draft board, in all likelihood.
#32
Old 04-13-2005, 11:45 PM
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Given the staunchly conservative views you have expressed on other subjects in the past, I'm curious as to how closely you would scrutinize claims of conscientious objection. Do you think you'd put these claims under a bigger microscope than most others?
#33
Old 04-14-2005, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Moto
Women can obviously serve, since they can easily meet the requirements I listed above. A draft affects women as well, because of its effect on families and communities. It would be silly to bar women from this service just because they won't be drafted.

Transexual issues will be dealt with at the MEPS, not by a local draft board, in all likelihood.
Thanks. Also I've heard that during the Vietnam era potential draftees weren't allowed to have legal counsel present during the hearings, has this changed?
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#34
Old 04-14-2005, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blalron
Given the staunchly conservative views you have expressed on other subjects in the past, I'm curious as to how closely you would scrutinize claims of conscientious objection. Do you think you'd put these claims under a bigger microscope than most others?
All claims of conscientious objection deserve scrutiny, don't you think?

That said, I have no interest in forcing genuine conscientious objectors to serve, or to serve in a capacity where they'd be worse than useless. I'm a veteran myself, and that experience has taught me the necessity of depending on the guy next to you.

Conscientious objection has an actual meaning defined by law - it means objection to all war, not an unwillingness to fight in a conflict led by LBJ or Bush, for instance. Assessing these claims is part of our job, and I think I can do it quite well.

After all, it's not like I have to agree with the guy across the table. I just have to decide whether he can serve.
#35
Old 04-14-2005, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaboi867
Thanks. Also I've heard that during the Vietnam era potential draftees weren't allowed to have legal counsel present during the hearings, has this changed?
I don't know what procedures were then, but legal counsel as such isn't permitted now. A registrant may have an advisor present, as well as three witnesses. The advisor may not also be a witness, and may not address the board directly.
#36
Old 04-14-2005, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Moto
I don't know what procedures were then, but legal counsel as such isn't permitted now. A registrant may have an advisor present, as well as three witnesses. The advisor may not also be a witness, and may not address the board directly.
Why are registrant denied legal counsel as such, and could a lawyer serve as an advisor if they didn't directly addredd the board? Also what is the minimum age requirement to serve on a draft board? Is it higher than 26?
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#37
Old 04-14-2005, 10:55 PM
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Age requirements for board service were listed above.

As for why lawyers aren't permitted, please remember that this is an administrative meeting at the heart of it. It is not a matter for civil or criminal courts, since the registrant is in no legal trouble (at least, not with the board) and the legality and constitutionality of this system has been settled pretty well.

What has also been settled is the role of the Selective Service local boards, district appeals boards, and national appeals board to safeguard the rights of the registrant.

I believe a lawyer could be an advisor, and certainly a witness, but it would be in a far different role than that of legal counsel. Part of the job of a Selective Service local board is judging the sincerity of a CO claimant, and to do that we have to ask probing questions about faith, ethics, and personal morality. Most lawyers would think many of these questions off limits in most circumstances, yet they are wholly germane to this question.

I'm fully aware that this system can leave a young man feeling awfully alone before a board, with a large uncertainty before him. I'm mindful of that, and hope to mitigate it if I ever have to sit on an active board.

God willing, I'll never have to.
#38
Old 04-14-2005, 11:29 PM
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The minimum is only 18, so would male draft board members be considered officials defered by law (like elected officials) and be exempt from the draft?
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#39
Old 04-14-2005, 11:36 PM
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Nowhere in my documentation does a local board member figure as an essential occupation exempt from the draft. And, as it is merely a part-time voluntary position, I'm certain uniformed or alternate service would take precedence.
#40
Old 04-15-2005, 01:37 AM
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So who qualifies as an official defered by law?
#41
Old 04-15-2005, 02:02 AM
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Does your juristiction cover Arlington County?
#42
Old 04-15-2005, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaboi867
So who qualifies as an official defered by law?
Legislators, governors, and judges, for the most part. All others are considered case by case.
#43
Old 04-15-2005, 09:11 AM
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My jurisdiction does not cover Arlington, no. But I did live there until 2001. We lived in Shirlington, and really enjoyed it.

I was even a member of the Arlington County Republican Committee, a lost cause if ever there was one.
#44
Old 04-15-2005, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anu-la1979
I've always been curious-how soon after the naturalization process does the Draft Board send eligible new citizens their card?
I missed this question until now. Sorry.

Actually, registration happens long before naturalization, as current law requires all male citizens and aliens living in the U.S. age 18 to 25 years old to register. This includes, interestingly enough, illegal aliens. Excluded are visitors on student or tourist visas, diplomats, and their families.

It isn't the local board that sends the card. All of that is done by the main office in Washington.
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