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The Universal National Service Act of 2003

Location: Washington, DC

THE UNIVERSAL NATIONAL SERVICE ACT OF 2003 -- (Extensions of Remarks - October 08, 2004)

Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 163 and urge my colleagues to overwhelmingly reject not only this election year "scare tactic" but the increasingly archaic policy of universal conscription.

Since the founding of our nation over two hundred years ago, the U.S. military has reluctantly used conscription to rapidly fill the ranks of an often undermanned and under funded military force in the face of grave national threats. Today, we live in a nation united under a single representative government that has faced and defeated the global threats of fascism and communism. A vital component of these victories was the evolution of the U.S. military from a garrison force, reinforced by conscripts in times of national emergency, to the present-day, all-volunteer military which now ably defends our nation from the deadly violence of international terrorism.

Like a large portion of our population, I am old enough to recall America's last attempt at conscription. More significantly, as a junior officer in the Marine Corps near the end of the Vietnam conflict, I witnessed first-hand many of the unfortunate repercussions of the military draft policy-the migration of a drug culture into the ranks, race riots, and the lack of unit camaraderie that leads to mission success.

I am proud to say that when I finished my 25-year career in the Marine Corps, those problems had completely disappeared or been reduced to statistical insignificance. Today's all-volunteer military, forged in the tragic "lessons learned" of Vietnam, has repeatedly demonstrated its professionalism and ability to defend America's national interests. The men and women of this well-educated and well-trained force serve our nation because they choose to do so. Today, we honor their service and ensure their continued success by voting to maintain the best-equipped, best-trained, and all-volunteer, Armed Forces.

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