If there is a draft, how can I become a conscientious objector?

Prepare now. If a draft is reinstated, you may have less than 10 days to decide whether you want to apply to be a conscientious objector. Draft boards will be more likely to approve CO applicants whom they believe to be sincere in their beliefs.

Take the following steps to document your beliefs:

  1. When you register for the draft, write “I am a conscientious objector” on your selective service card, make a copy of it, and mail the copy (NOT in an envelope) to yourself. This way, the date will be stamped on the copy. If you have already registered, write to the selective service that you are a conscientious objector. Keep a copy of this letter, and send it by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  2. Write a personal statement that answers the following questions:
    a) Describe the beliefs and values which are the basis of your CO claim, and explain why these values conflict with participation in war. State whether those beliefs would permit you to serve in a noncombatant position in the armed forces.
    b) Describe how you got these beliefs.
    c) Explain how these beliefs affect the way you live now or what you plan to do in the future.
  3. Start a CO file. Keep in this file copies of the letters mentioned above, your personal statement, letters of support written by people who know you well and who will attest to the sincerity of your CO claim, and other evidence of your objection to war (such as papers or essays written for class or photos of yourself at anti-war demonstrations.) Keep this file on record with us at CPF, with your guidance counselor, at your church, or with another organization.
  4. Contact a CO counselor at CPF or through the GI Rights Hotline at (800) 394-9544, for advice