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‘Business as usual’: Selective Service System clarifies draft process amid escalation in Iran tensions

U.S. Army Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, deploy from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, Jan. 1, 2020. Elements of the Immediate Response Force mobilized for deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Robyn J. Haake)

The Selective Service System, which maintains a list of potential recruits in the event of a military draft, clarified the process in a Friday Twitter post following increased tensions between the United States and Iran.

The killing of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a Thursday airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump sparked concerns about a broader military conflict with Iran and what appeared to be online fears about the return of the draft.

“The Selective Service System is conducting business as usual. In the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the President would need to pass official legislation to authorize a draft,” the Selective Service System wrote.

The Service later wrote that its website was experiencing “high traffic volumes” that disrupted website functions because of “the spread of misinformation.” The Service, however, did not specify what the misinformation was or what exactly caused the website crash.

The Service’s website was still down Saturday morning.

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The killing of Soleimani was the latest action in long-simmering tensions between the United States and Iran, including the United States’ withdrawal from an accord limiting Iran’s nuclear program and the reimposing of sanctions on the country.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday morning on CNN that the airstrike on Soleimani’s convoy had come in response to an “imminent attack.” Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation” for those responsible for Soleimani’s killing, and the country’s ambassador to the United Nations said Saturday, “the response for a military action is military action.”

The United States will send about 3,000 more soldiers to Kuwait to reinforce existing forces.

The last draft ended after the Vietnam War as the U.S. military transitioned to become an all-volunteer service. Currently, all male U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service, though registration with the Selective Service does not necessarily mean all registrants will be drafted.

Women cannot be drafted as current legislation governing the Selective Service only refers to “male persons,” so the drafting of women would require new legislation, the Selective Service says.

If troops are mobilized, “A lottery drawing would be conducted to determine the order in which men would be called, and induction orders would be issued, in lottery number order, by means of the U.S. Postal Service,” a Selective Service history explains.

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©2020 USA Today

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.