Alternative Service Program

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Alternative Service Program is a form of alternative service for conscientious objectors in the United States within its Selective Service System. As there is currently no conscription in the United States and has not been for over four decades, the Program's current status can only be regarded as something which would become operative if conscription were ever to resume.

Official definition[edit]

The Selective Service System defines the purpose and scope of the Alternative Service as follows.[1]

The Alternative Service Program affects those persons whose conscientious objection encompasses both combatant and noncombatant military training and service. The program allows men who have been classified 1-O by their local Selective Service boards to fulfill their service obligation in a civilian capacity contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety or interest.

The Alternative Service Program is to be administered locally by the Alternative Service Offices which will be located in 48 major cities in the U.S. There is also to be a Civilian Review Board associated with each office which is composed of no less than three civilian volunteers. It is their responsibility to review certain appeals of job assignments by the Alternative Service Workers.

A major part of the contingency planning for Alternative Service is to identify agencies and associations which could assist the Selective Service System in placing conscientious objectors in suitable alternative service jobs. Examples of alternative service work are conservation, caring for the very young and the very old, educational projects and health care.

Conscientious objectors who are to be placed in the Alternative Service Program will be asked to describe their skills, aptitudes and interest in order to facilitate their placement. An attempt will be made to match the objector’s skills and aptitudes to an eligible job, while at the same time ensuring that his service makes a meaningful contribution to the national interest. All assignments will be made within 30 days of reclassification to conscientious objector status.

Employers will be asked to describe their job openings and the qualifications of persons required to fill them. The employer may interview conscientious objectors before deciding to hire them, or he may leave the placement decision in the hands of the Alternative Service Office. In all cases, the employer and the Selective Service System must execute an agreement for the employment of conscientious objectors before any work assignments are made. All assignments will be made within 30 days of reclassification to conscientious objector status.


  1. ^ The official description is taken from the United States government fact sheet (dated February 19, 2004), which is in public domain