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Falls Church, VA-- At 10:30 a.m. (EST) on Dec. 2, 1998 a "switch" was thrown, giving millions of young men an easier way to fulfill a civic and legal responsibility. As of that moment, 18- through 25-year-old male U.S. citizens everywhere (as well as male non-citizens residing in the U.S.) were able to register with the Selective Service System using the Internet.

"This is real, interactive, on-line registration," notes the Honorable Gil Coronado, Director of Selective Service, who activated the new, on-line service. "For nearly two decades men have gone to post offices, completed and mailed a registration form, and waited 60 to 90 days to receive an acknowledgment card from us. A man can still register by mail, but now there is a better way. If he has a valid Social Security number, he simply connects to the Selective Service Web Site at, which links him to the Agencyís computers. He clicks on the "Register Now" icon, types in his registration information, clicks on the "Submit" button which appears on the screen, and instantly receives his Selective Service number. Additionally, he receives a formal acknowledgment postcard in the mail within two weeks." The Agency hopes that registration via the Internet becomes the primary way of registering, Coronado notes. The new system will accept on-line registrations between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET weekdays.

Coronado activated the new system during a visit to a Washington, D.C., area high school for a special kick-off event. Using personal computers at the schoolís computer lab, several young men turning 18 years old became the very first men to register on-line with Selective Service.

Federal law requires virtually all men to register with Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18. About 1.8 million men are required to register each year. Although late registrations are accepted, a man cannot register after reaching age 26. Failure to register is a felony. Registration is linked to many federal and state benefits. For example, a man must be registered to be eligible for federal student loans and Pell grants, job training programs under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), and federal jobs in the Executive Branch of the government, including jobs with the U.S. Postal Service. Male immigrants who fail to register as required cannot obtain citizenship. Half of the states have supporting legislation which precludes men who are required to register, but who have not done so, from receiving many state benefits, like state tuition assistance, eligibility for state jobs, and (in some cases) enrolling in state post-secondary institutions.

Although the U.S. relies on an all-volunteer military today, the Selective Service System and the registration program help America remain prepared to reinstate a timely and fair draft in a future crisis, should a draft become necessary.

CONTACTS: Lew Brodsky or Barbi Richardson, (703) 605-4100