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MANPOWER IMPLICATIONS OF SELECTIVE SERVICE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 1967
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND POVERTY OF THE COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND PUBLIC WELFARE,
The subcommittee met at 10:10 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 4232, New Senate Office Building, Senator Edward M. Kennedy presiding pro tempore.
Senators Kennedy of Massachusetts (presiding pro tempore), Randolph, and, Kennedy of New York.
Committee staff members present: Stewart E. McClure, chief clerk, Peter C. Benedict, minority professional staff.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. The subcommittee will come to order.
We begin this morning our third day of hearings on the implications of the draft on our young people, on the decisions they must make as they plan for their futures.
Yesterday, Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz gave us a superb example of the very high caliber of men at the top levels of our Government. His testimony was visionary, articulate, bold, and informed, and as we here in the Congress consider what shape an equitable draft system should take, I am sure we will again and again refer to Secretary Wirtz's able testimony.
Of particular interest was the Secretary's statement that drafting the youngest first would eliminate the need for occupational deferments. And he indicated that half of those classified 2-A, and consequently deferred, are neither in essential activities nor critical ocupations. We have asked the Secretary to provide us with more information on this inequity.
Also of great importance was Secretary Wirtz's concern over those young men in occupational training. If, he said, we defer college students, then we should also defer those in occupational training. We must learn more about how the draft now treats those in vocational schools or apprenticeship training programs-whether it discriminates against them.
We also heard yesterday from Donald J. Eberly, executive director, of the National Service Secretariat. The importance of national service to our young men is revealed by a recent poll of high school students, which indicated that 77 percent of the students favored compulsory national service for all young men. Mr. Eberly's testimony was provocative, and I am sure we will hear much more about this concept, its promises, and its problems, before this session of the Congress is finished.
Our first witness today is William Gorham, Assistant Secretary, of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, for Program Coordination. Yesterday, it was plain that the members of this subcommittee are anxious to hear more about the problems of educational deferments.
Secretary Gorham, whose responsibilty includes review and coordination of all HEW programs, including those of the Office of Education, is an appropriate leadoff for an examination of educational deferments. Further, because Secretary Gorham was formerly in the Department of Defense and closely involved in that Department's study of the draft, his knowledge of the interrelationship between the draft and education policies is perhaps unique.
Mr. Gorham, we have your statement here this morning. I will ask that it be included in its entirety in the record and I will ask you if you will be kind enough to summarize in your own words the testimony up to the bottom of page 4. Start off in the second-to-last paragraph there, and from that point on I will ask you to read through the remainder of your testimony through page 8.
(The prepared statement of Assistant Secretary Gorham follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF WILLIAM GORHAM, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PROGRAM COORDINATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee: I welcome the opportunity to appear before this Committee to discuss the Selective Service System.
The authority to draft men into service has been in effect since 1948. It was last extended by the Congress in 1963 for a four-year period. With the exception of a brief period of 15 months between the expiration of the World War II draft law and enactment of the Selective Service Act of 1948, a full generation of young men in this country has now been subject to a military service obligation under the law.
Despite its longevity, our Nation has never accepted the draft as a way of life. We live uneasily with compulsory military service. We are particularly uncomfortable when we suspect we can meet our national security needs without the draft or when we think it is distributing the right, responsibility and burden of military service unfairly.
Before our commitment in Viet Nam required substantial manpower-when our military force stood at about 2.6 million men-the principal source of concern was whether we needed the draft at all. Since the summer of 1965 our forces have grown to well over 3 million with 500,000 of these in a combat area. National concern has shifted to the fairness of the call. After the 1963 reenactment both concerns, the need for the draft and equity of selection, were at the source of strong public, Congressional and Administration interest in a thorough review of the draft. In April of 1964, the President directed the Secretary of Defense to undertake a comprehensive study of the whole subject of military manpower procurement. I directed that study which was completed toward the end of 1965.
In July of 1966, the President established a public commission-the National Advisory Commission on Selective Service with responsibility to
-consider the past, present, and prospective functioning of selective service and other systems of national service in the light of the following factors: Fairness to all citizens; military manpower requirements; the objective of minimizing uncertainty and interference with individual careers and education; social, economic and employment conditions and goals; budgetary and administrative considerations; and any other factors that the Commission may deem relevant;
-make recommendations concerning such matters as methods of classification and selection of registrants; qualifications for military service; grounds for deferment and exemption; procedures for appeal and protection of individual rights; and organization and administration of the Selective Service System at the national, state, and local levels;
-evaluate other proposals related to selective service, including proposals for national service.
In addition, another group of distinguished citizens reviewed the Selective Service System for the House Armed Services Committee.
On the basis of the Commission's report and these other studies, the President made the following recommendations:
1. The Selective Service law under which men can be inducted into the Armed Forces be extended for a four-year period, upon its expiration on June 30, 1967.
2. Men be inducted beginning at 19 years of age, reversing the present order of calling the oldest first, so that uncertainties now generated in the lives of young men will be reduced.
3. Policies be tightened governing undergraduate college deferments so that those deferments can never become exemptions from military service, and providing for no further post-graduate deferments except for those in medical and dental schools.
4. Firm rules be formulated, to be applied uniformly throughout the country, in determining eligibility for all other types of deferment. 5. A fair and impartial random (FAIR) system of selection be established to determine the order of call for all men eligible and available for the draft.
6. Improvements in the Selective Service System be immediately effected to assure better service to the registrant both in counselling and appeals, better information to the public regarding the System's operation and broader representation on local boards of the communities they serve.
7. A study be conducted by the best management experts in the government of the effectiveness, cost and feasibility of a proposal made by the National Advisory Commission to restructure the organization of the Selective Service System.
8. The National Commission on Selective Service be continued for another year to provide a continuing review of the system that touches the lives of so many young Americans and their families.
9. Enlistment procedures for our National Guard and Reserve units be strengthened to remove inequities and to ensure a high state of readiness for those units.
I find myself in the enviable position of being able to take an official position which exactly coincides with my personal views. I strongly endorse the recommendations of the President. I will say a few words about recommendations 1 through 5.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM GORHAM, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PROGRAM COORDINATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE
Mr. GORHAM. Thank you, Senator Kennedy. It is a pleasure to be here in my own words; as you mentioned in your introductory remarks before I went to the Health, Education, and Welfare, my last assignment at the Department of Defense was to direct for the Secretary the study of the draft, which I did for 2 years prior to coming to HEW.
I would like to point out one or two things which are covered in the first four pages of my testimony and then go on and read from there. The first point is that the two sources of concern about the draft have always been whether we need it and whether it's fair. Before Vietnam, when the call was fairly low, when the size of the force was fairly low relative to what it is now, ranging about 2.6 million men, concern around the country and the Congress centered around whether or not we needed this thing at all.
As the Vietnam manpower commitment rose substantially and the force increased to about 3.3 million men, concern in the country has
shifted from whether or not we need the draft to the equity for which the draft burden, responsibility, and right falls.
The Marshall Commission made a series of recommendations and the President, based on those recommendations and a study done in the Defense Department and an additional survey sponsored by the House Armed Service Committee, made a series of recommendations.
I find myself in a relatively rare position of having my personal view precisely the same as my official view. I strongly endorse the recommendations of the President.
I would like to say a word about the first five of the recommendations which the President made in his message on selective service.
There is really no feasible alternative to extending the draft law. On an exclusively voluntary basis, we probably could maintain a military force no larger than 2 million men; with the high probability of service leading to combat service, perhaps 2 million is an overestimate. Our present needs call for a military force of over 3 million men. Without the draft the military services would lose not only draftees, but also a substantial fraction of their volunteers. From extensive surveys conducted for the Department of Defense, we found that about two out of five voluntary enlistees were "draft motivated"; that is, they volunteered so that they could enter the service of their choice at the time of their choice rather than wait for the draft board to pick them up.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. What would be the implications if you adopt a random draft system, if you adopt a system on that basis?
Mr. GORHAM. What would be the implications for the voluntary enlistee?
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. That's right.
Mr. GORHAM. I think the number of enlistees who enlist to avoid the draft would go down very sharply. You probably would have a potential reduction in voluntary enlistees.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Do you have any figures on that?
Mr. GORHAM. I think you would have to address that question to Mr. Morris, who I believe has made studies of this subsequent to the development of this fair system.
It is the policy of the administration to minimize reliance on the draft. This is being done by continuing to increase the attractiveness of voluntary military service, using military personnel only where civilian personnel cannot perform satisfactorily, and increasing the use of women, broadening the base of prospective volunteers by accepting into the military service men who require some amount of physical and educational upgrading before they can meet service qualitative standards 2 years ago.
I think an important point made by Secretary Morris, as I read his testimony this morning, is that the revision of standards, qualitative mental standards, reduces the potential unacceptable percentage of the male population from 17 percent to 11 percent. That is a very sig nificant change. It really means only one out of 10 young men today would not fail to meet the mental standards of service.
The second proposal of the President, reversing the order of call to choose among the 19-year-old age class, substantially reduces the uncertainty which has been a paramount defect of the present draft selection system and sets the stage for a substantial improvement in the equity of selection.
Third, when the reversed order of call is combined with a tightening of college deferment, the worst loophole of the present system will be closed. The postgraduate deferments have been the principal sources of the unequal incidence of service among young men who are qualified for military service. Continuation of postgraduate deferments for medical and dental schools will continue to be necessary to meet the demand for doctors and dentists in the service.
Four, the establishment of uniform and firm rules for other forms of deferment will correct what has been a source of considerable public discontent with the present system.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Talking about the problems of deferment, what about the proposal advanced by Secretary Wirtz for providing additional deferments for those involved in job training and apprenticeship training? Why shouldn't they, if we are going to continue educational deferments, be equally deferred?
Mr. GORHAM. Perhaps they should be. I think if you consider what happens when postgraduate deferments are stopped, you will realize that the principal source of inequity associated with the undergraduate deferment is ended.
College graduates, baccalaureates who don't go on to advanced college work, have had the same incidence of service as those who dropped out of college, those who graduated from high school, even as those who dropped out of high school. So that the reason why undergraduate college deferment has been a source of concern to people is it had been an avenue to escaping service. In other words, it had been an avenue to exemption.
As soon as you close the end of the 4-year period off and you say after this you enter a pool to be randomly selected among 19-year-olds, the principal source of discontent with undergraduate deferment really ends. It truly is a deferment; it's a deferment of 2 years.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Yes, but nonetheless, the student has an advantage: if a boy continues on to college, and we are involved in a shooting war, he can delay his service, can he not?
Mr. GORHAM. That is absolutely right, but at the end of college when he graduates, there may be a shooting war and there may not have
been when he was 19.
Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Now, a boy who is taking apprenticeship training or going to night school doesn't get the deferment; he goes, under our present system.
Mr. GORHAM. That is right. I think one can make one argument, which is that the 2 years subsequent to his sophomore year, which is really what we are talking about, would be a period during which time he could make an option to enter the service by dropping out of college. In other words, you are giving him 2 years in which to make a decision which the job apprentice or the person in a job is not getting, so he has this option. Whether the option is useful to him or not depends on what happens over those 2 years.