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Officials rushing to fill draft-board vacancies

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(N.Y. Times) — Though the Department of Defense says it has no plans to reinstate the military draft, officials are scrambling nationally to fill thousands of vacancies on local selective service boards in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks.

The local boards rule on the appeals of draftees denied deferments or exemptions from military service because of family hardships, conscientious objection and other grounds.

One-third of the 10,600 seats on the nation's more than 2,000 local selective service boards are vacant, said Lew Brodsky, Selective Service System spokesman.

This week, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the Selective Service System remains in caretaker mode but the agency has been ordered to prepare itself in case President Bush and Congress reverse course.

Under law, all men are required to register with the selective service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Nationally, the compliance rate is 87 percent.

Brodsky said the 1,500-a-day electronic registration rate jumped to 6,000 on the day of last week's attacks.

For more information, visit the Selective Service System's Web site at www.sss.gov.