The legislation under which the Selective Service System operates is the Military Selective Service Act (1948). Under this law, the mission is twofold: to deliver untrained manpower to the armed forces in time of emergency in accordance with requirements established by the Department of Defense, and to administer the alternative service program for conscientious objectors.
When an all-volunteer military force was established, it was not intended to stand alone in time of national emergency. If, by law, it is determined that a return to the draft is required, the Selective Service System would be responsible for supplying manpower through the induction process to fill vacancies that could not be filled through voluntary enlistments. The Selective Service System would expand significantly and require the services of over 11,000 civilian volunteers to staff local and appeal boards.
Since 1948, with the exception of seven years in the 1970's, citizens have been able volunteer with the Selective Service as a Local Board Member, Registrar, or State Volunteer.
Selective Service local board members are part of a group of citizen volunteers whose mission, upon a draft, will be to decide who among the registrants in their community will receive deferments, postponements, or exemptions from military service based on the individual registrant's circumstances and beliefs.
Selective Service registrars are uncompensated volunteers appointed by the agency to inform young men to fulfill their civic responsibility and be eligible to apply for student loans and grants, job training, and federal employment.
State volunteers are those who assist Selective Service with special events and outreach projects in their respective state.