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Uncle Sam Signs On to Register Young Men

By Eun-Kyung Kim
Associated Press
Wednesday, December 2, 1998; Page A27

Uncle Sam wants you -- on the Internet.

Registering with the Selective Service can be as easy as turning on the computer starting today, when the agency activates its online registration site.

Instead of signing up for the potential draft at the post office -- and then waiting up to three months for a confirmation card -- a young man with access to the Internet can simply log on and sign up.

"We're giving men yet another easier, faster way to take care of their legal obligation," said Lew Brodsky, the agency's director of public and congressional affairs. "He'll be hooking directly to the mainframe and when he hits the 'submit' button, he's going to get an instantaneous Selective Service number. He'll be registered as of that moment."

The registration site, accessible at http://www.sss.gov on the Web, is expected to be activated at 11 a.m. today.

The law requires nearly every male U.S. citizen and male alien living in the United States, age 18 through 25, to register with Selective Service. The United States has not drafted men into the military since the end of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War.

About 1.8 million 18-year-old males register each year. The agency estimates a 91 percent compliance rate among all men who must register.

The online program works by comparing the information entered against the government's Social Security database. After a match is made, the person is given a registration number and mailed an acknowledgment card within weeks.

Registration is mandatory for most federal benefits, as well as for government employment.

"We're hoping that many men decide that this is the way to go. Not only is it faster and easier for them but it's obviously time-saving and less costly to us," he said.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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