The Role of the National Headquarters in a Decentralized Selective Service System

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selective service system, United States, government policy, federal government, policy-making, legislation


Law | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | United States History


The Selective Service System is a very unique agency in the American system of government. The purpose of the system is national in nature, that is to provide manpower for the national armed forces. The operation of the system, however, is local or confederate in nature, with the local boards theoretically retaining the bulk of the decision-making power. Within this decentralized system, the National Headquarters of the Selective Service System is supposed to perform solely coordinating and administrative functions. The thesis of this paper is that, in practice, the National Headquarters has developed a policy-making function and some degree of influence over the other segments of the system.

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