UT Military Historian Says Draft Registration Declining

Knoxville — A new study by the U.S. Selective Service system has found that 85 percent of Tennessee men register for the draft by age 20.

That’s more than the national average of 83 percent.

But a University of Tennessee history professor said nationally, draft registration is on the decline.

“The registration was started in response to the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,” said Dr. Kurt Piehler. “I don’t think the draft is in the consciousness of people now as it was in the 1980s.”

Piehler said a strong economy is also reducing draft registration numbers, as is an overall decline in interest in the military.

“There are fewer and fewer people with a direct connection to the military,” Piehler said. “The baby boomer generation has fewer people with military experience, and less incentive to join the armed forces.”

Piehler is director of UT’s Center for the Study of War and Society.