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October 9, 2002
For more than 25 years, the Armed Forces of our Nation have been staffed entirely by volunteers. The All-Volunteer Force has come to represent American resolve to defend freedom and protect liberty around the world. Sustaining that heritage requires the active support of public institutions in presenting military opportunities to our young people for their consideration.
Recognizing the challenges faced by military recruiters, Congress recently passed legislation that requires high schools to provide to military recruiters, upon request, access to secondary school students and directory information on those students. Both the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 reflect these requirements.
In accordance with those Acts, military recruiters are entitled to receive the name, address, and telephone listing of juniors and seniors in high school. As clarified in the enclosure, providing this information is consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of student education records. Student directory information will be used specifically for armed services recruiting purposes and for informing young people of scholarship opportunities. For some of our students, this may be the best opportunity they have to get a college education.
The support by our Nation's educational institutions on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces is critical to the success of the All-Volunteer Force. It can be, and should be, a partnership that benefits everyone. As veterans, and as Cabinet Members serving the President, we can attest to the excellent educational opportunities the military affords, as well as an environment that encourages the development of strong character and leadership skills.
The Department of Education and Department of Defense have worked together to provide you the enclosed guidelines for compliance with these new laws. We encourage you to examine the enclosed information carefully and to work closely with military recruiters as they carry out their important public responsibilities.
Secretary of Education
|Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense