As seems to happen every time a conflict begins somewhere in the world, the U.S. Army has once again had to issue a statement pointing out that no one is being drafted into the US military via text message. There is no new US military draft, nor is there one in the works.
The United States is providing support to Ukraine, a European nation invaded by Russia last week, but the Biden administration has been very clear that no American troops are engaged in the fighting and that there are no plans for American forces to participate in this conflict.
Nonetheless, scammers have apparently begun sending out text messages claiming a new US military draft has begun, ordering the recipient to report to the “nearest branch” for processing.
There is no new US military draft
First and foremost, rest easy in knowing that there is no new US military draft, nor is there even one in the works. America hasn’t seen a draft since the twilight of the Vietnam war in 1973. Since then, the US military has been an all-volunteer service.
Ironically, the language in these texts hasn’t changed much since the last time this nonsensical practical joke played out, with some texts citing “Iran” as the nation American forces are heading to fight (which first began circulating after an American airstrike killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani).
In a statement issued by the Army, they highlighted the fact that the Army itself does not make any decisions relating to a US military draft, so even if there was one, you wouldn’t be getting a text from Army personnel to notify you of anything.
“The decision to enact a draft is not made at or by the U.S. Army. The Selective Service System, a separate agency outside of the Department of Defense, is the organization that manages registration for the Selective Service,” the Army statement reads.
News of a new draft would be everywhere well before it happened
A new US military draft would be a huge deal within the United States, marking the end of nearly five decades of being a volunteer-based service. In order to institute a draft, legislation would have to be debated on and passed by lawmakers, and needless to say, the effort would be met with broad and significant controversy that would dominate headlines for days, weeks, or even longer leading up to a new draft.
“In order to enact a draft, Congress would need to pass legislation authorizing it, and the resulting bill would then need to be signed by the president,” the Army statement reads.
If a new US military draft were in the works, it would be covered in great detail as it worked its way through the legislative process, and then processes would be put into place that likely wouldn’t include cold-texting people and instructing them to report to processing for deployment to a place like Iran.
“While there is currently no draft, registration with the Selective Service System is the most publicly visible program during peacetime that ensures operational readiness in a fair and equitable manner,” explained a spokesperson for the Selective Service the agency.
“If authorized by the President and Congress, our Agency would rapidly provide personnel to the Department of Defense while at the same time providing an Alternative Service Program for conscientious objectors.”
Disinformation and 21st century warfare
There’s been a great deal of disinformation online surrounding Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, and these efforts are not limited to where the fighting is going on. Disinformation differs from misinformation in intent. Misinfo is bad information someone may unintentionally share, while Disinfo is bad information shared intentionally to affect people’s perceptions or to elicit a response.
Some disinformation efforts are led or spurred on by foreign governments in order to create confusion and anxiety among populations of nations supporting Ukraine with sanctions and support. Other efforts, unfortunately, are created by uninvolved individuals with little more than a flair for the dramatic and a mischievous sense of humor.
Regardless of the source of the disinformation, it’s important not to share it further once it reaches you. If you come across information that seems off, check with other sources before you share it. News of a new draft, for instance, would be circulating widely within the United States and even abroad, so a quick internet search may go far in helping you realize something is amiss.
But perhaps most importantly, the best place you can get reliable information about what the US military is up to, including any possibility for a new draft, is in the messaging that comes from the US military and government itself. When rumors like these pop up, the military is often the first to dismiss them (like the Army recently did with a press release about these text messages).
It may sound strange, but by thinking critically about the messaging you receive, vetting it for accuracy by checking it against reliable news sources and the government’s own messaging, and not helping disinformation spread, you really are playing a role in fighting the enemies of the United States and its allies. Stemming the tide of disinformation can have far-reaching effects on how situations like the invasion of Ukraine play out, and we can each play our role in it.