Evaluation of the Recent Draft Registration

FPCD-81-30: Published: Dec 19, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 1980.

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The completeness and accuracy of the recent draft registration conducted by the Selective Service System has been challenged by a variety of critics and organizations. The issue has been compounded by court actions on the registration of women and the questioned use of social security numbers in the registration process. Serious questions have been raised concerning the use of the registration program in a national emergency.

No major problems were found with the manner in which the Selective Service System organized or conducted the registration. The estimate by the System of the number of males that should have registered was reasonable. Some errors and discrepancies were found in the keypunching of registration cards, postal service operations, and follow-up procedures to verify data accuracy. Most of the data regarding names, addresses, dates of birth, and social security numbers were accurate. The errors that did occur represented only a small percentage of the registrants and were predominantly caused by illegible data on the registration cards. The System corrected or was in the process of correcting most of these errors, so that a final accuracy level of 98 percent did not appear unreasonable. If the Supreme Court decides that women must also be registered, the System would have no problem in doing so, although there would be a significant cost increase. A U.S. District Court decision that the use of social security numbers for draft registration violates the Privacy Act holds problems for the System. However, unless a final court decision is made quickly, the System will have the time to develop adequate alternative controls or to obtain legislative approval to use social security numbers in its registration efforts.

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