COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, many young Americans are now wondering, “Can/will I be drafted?”
Currently, U.S. troops are being shifted to Germany as President Joe Biden vows to stand up to Putin via harsh sanctions, defend NATO allies, and support Ukraine’s fight for independence.
So far, Biden has denied any plans to send American troops to Ukraine to fight. However, that has not stopped young people, particularly those of drafting age (18-25), from worrying about whether they will be required to join the military if the situation grows worse.
A draft is defined as a mandatory enrollment of individuals into the armed service. According to USA.gov, the United States military has been all-volunteer since 1973, but “an act of Congress could still reinstate the draft in case of a national emergency.”
Although talks of women registering with Selective Service have circulated, women remain excluded from any potential drafts after Congress dropped a provision in Dec. 2021. Today, only men ages 18-25 who are U.S. citizens or are immigrants would be required to sign up.
However, there are exceptions for the age group including men who are “incarcerated, or hospitalized, or institutionalized for medical reasons,” and men who are “continually confined to a residence, hospital, or institution.”
Exemptions also apply to some transgender individuals including people who were born female and have “changed their gender to male.” Exceptions do not apply to transgender women as “U.S. citizens or immigrants who are born male and have changed their role to female” would be required to serve.
The big question is “How bad would things need to be for Congress to enact a draft?”
Drafts have been utilized many times during America’s history including the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. The last man inducted entered the U.S. Army on June 30, 1973 during the Vietnam War. During that conflict alone, 1,857,304 men were inducted.
It is clear a major emergency and/or threat to Americans would have to be present. Will that happen during the current crisis in Ukraine? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, members of Gen Z continue using social media to express their feelings about the Russia and Ukraine crisis. One video created by @huncho_reacts depicts the moment young men receive a suspicious letter in the mail, while another video created by @cutiecaryn jokes about women before and after #WW3.
Although Americans are not being drafted for the ongoing crisis, according to The Hill, Ukraine has started drafting reservists aged 18 to 60 into its armed forces.