Fact Check: Draft-age American Men Are NOT 'Automatically Registered In The US Military' After House Vote -- Pending Legislation Would Simply Automate Already-Mandatory Registration

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Draft-age American Men Are NOT 'Automatically Registered In The US Military' After House Vote -- Pending Legislation Would Simply Automate Already-Mandatory Registration Only Amends

Are all American men aged 18-26 now "automatically registered in the U.S. military" after an "overnight" vote in the U.S. House of Representatives? No, that's not true: American men in that age group have been required for decades to register for the Selective Service System. A measure that would automate Selective Service registration has yet to pass the Senate, and its aim would be to streamline a process that is already required. And the House vote on the measure occurred on a Friday, not "overnight" in the hours before a social media post on Monday, June 17, 2024.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on Facebook on June 17, 2024. The post read:

HOLD YA MAN TIGHT 😭 ALL MEN (18-26) have been AUTOMATICALLY REGISTERED in the US military🇺🇸🇺🇸🫡🫡‼️‼️
Y'all can thank the House of Reps who passed it overnight 🥲

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

all men 18 26 automatically in military FB post.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jun 19 15:18:05 2024 UTC)

The post making the claim implies that such automatic registration has already occurred. It has not.

The post inaccurately describes a proposed measure -- an amendment to the annual massive military spending bill -- that would only change the process of registering for the military, which is already required by the Military Selective Service Act (archived here) and has historical precedence (archived here). The existing act requires all men in the draft-age demographic to register for selective service.

The Selective Service System agency keeps track of who is eligible for a military draft (archived here), but a draft would only take place if authorized by the president in response to a national emergency (archived here). As the Selective Service System clarifies (archived here):

Registering with Selective Service does not mean you are joining the military.

As it appears at the time of writing, the relevant part of the "Registration" portion of the Military Selective Service Act (archived here) states that any eligible man must "present himself for and submit to registration at such time or times and place or places, and in such manner, as shall be determined by proclamation of the President and by rules and regulations prescribed hereunder."

The change that the House passed in 2024 (see Section 531, "SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM: AUTOMATIC REGISTRATION" of the bill) is to make the registration process automated rather than requiring eligible men to register themselves. In other words, it would just simplify an already-existing process.

The post misrepresents how such legislation would be enacted. As opposed to the post's suggestion that the House passing a bill makes it law, a bill like the one in question would have to pass in the House and then the Senate before being signed into law by the president. In this case, the House simply passed a proposed amendment that is contained in a military spending bill for fiscal year 2025. There is no guarantee that the amendment will survive in the Senate.

At the time this was written, Snopes and USA Today had reviewed the same claim.

Other Lead Stories related to selective service can be found here.

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