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Here's the truth about the U.S. military draft

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 17:29:47-05

(WTXL) — Since last week's U.S. airstrikes in Iran, rumors of a military draft went viral on social media and government websites crashed with people looking for information.

For now, if you're of draft age, there's no need to worry just yet.

Serving in our nation's military is voluntary and Army officials are warning, that if you get a text or anything saying you've been drafted, it's simply not true.

Retired Air Force Colonel Jeff Kubiak teaches at the Center on the Future of War. He believes returning to a draft is not that simple after years of an all volunteer military.

"Certainly in the short term, that would be something a nation would have to decide to do well in advance and the services be structured to accept that sort of service member," said Kubiak.

The Army put out a news bulletin alerting the public of fraudulent text messages from people claiming to be recruiters.

Some texts tell the person receiving them to head to their local recruiting office for "Immediate departure to Iran." Others expand on that message, saying that if the person doesn't respond, they'll "be fined and sent to jail for minimum 6 years."

In times of conflict, the military has been able to hold onto some troops past their contractually agreed-to separation dates. It's called a stop-loss order.

This is likely to happen even before military leaders reach out to veterans in the individual ready reserve.

"I'm a retired Air Force Colonel. I'm susceptible to being called to duty," said Kubiak. "It's more likely than drafting an 18-year-old out of high school."

If you're wondering when you have to register for the draft, it happens automatically in many states when men get their driver's licenses or apply for college financial aid.

So while we wait to see where the Iran conflict takes us, it appears it will be your choice to serve in our nation's military.

Federal law says you have up until 30 days after you turn 18 to register, but there is a grace period that allows you to register up until the last day of your 25th year. Failing to register may lead to fines, possible imprisonment and not being eligible for certain benefits.