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Clinton Orders Draft System to Continue

<i> From Associated Press</i>

President Clinton on Wednesday ordered continuation of draft registration, rejecting a Pentagon conclusion that ending the process would pose no risk to national security.

Clinton said he followed the recommendation of his National Security Council in deciding it was essential to continue registration and the Selective Service System.

“While tangible military requirements alone do not currently make a mass call-up of American young men likely, there are three reasons I believe we should maintain both the SSS and the draft registration requirement,” the President said.

His reasons:

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* Draft registration serves as “a hedge against unforeseen threats and is a relatively low-cost ‘insurance policy’ against our underestimating the maximum level of threat we expect our armed forces to face.”

* Ending registration now “could send the wrong signal to our potential enemies who are watching for signs of U.S. resolve.”

* As fewer people in the general population have direct experience with the armed forces and military life it is important “to maintain the link between the all-volunteer force and the society at-large.”

“The armed forces must also know that the general population stands behind them, committed to serve, should the preservation of our national security so require,” he said.

Clinton urged Congress to support his Administration’s request for $23 million for the Selective Service System for 1995.

The Pentagon concluded in a report to Congress in early March that reinstatement of an actual draft is highly unlikely. “Consequently, peacetime draft registration could be suspended without irreparable damage to national security,” the report said.

The Pentagon stopped short of recommending an end to the Selective Service System.

But it said suspending peacetime registration could be accomplished with “no effect on military mobilization requirements, little effect on the time it would take to mobilize and no measurable effect on military recruitment.”

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