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In the period preceding the Vietnam buildup last year, that group was surprisingly large; it averaged 39,000 a year, 31 percent of the total drafted. Next, in order of date of birth, oldest first, orders to report for induction go to those between nineteen and twenty-six who are single, married but not living with their wives, or who were married after August 26, 1965. On that date President Johnson took childless married men out of a less-draftable pigeonhole President Kennedy had put them in two years before.

Until recently, those three categories within the I-A classification have filled all the Armed Forces' needs. In December, however, some draft boards reached category four, which includes childless nonvolunteers nineteen to twenty-six who married before President Johnson's August order. The last two categories are nonvolunteers twenty-six or over, and nonvolunteers between eighteen and a half and nineteen. By law, no one under eighteen and a half may be drafted. There is also a special class for doctors, but in practice since the Korean War no doctors have actually been inducted as draftees. "The way that works is pretty silly," General Hershey says. "We encourage them to get their education by deferring them. It's our method of gentle compulsion. The country needs doctors, and the Armed Forces need doctors. We say we draft doctors, but we don't. We threaten to draft them, and they all take commissions as officers. We've inducted about twenty doctors in the last fifteen years, and that was all during Korea."

With this kind of flexibility, the Selective Service System is geared to answer the Pentagon's shifting manpower calls with relative ease. When possible, the Defense Department calculates its needs two months in advance, and relays that call to the Selective Service System, which apportions the monthly total among the fifty states. Each state director divides his quota among the local boards within his state. The allocations are based on availability of draftees, reflecting, not always accurately because of the inevitable time lag, such variables as enlistments, deferments, and rejection rates for draftees in the area.

General Hershey would not like the comparison, because he prefers to emphasize the human character of the system, but once selective service registrants are classified by the local boards, the draft works like a very simple mechanical computer. The requirements go in at one end, and out come the bodies from the other. Over the past twenty years the number of men in uniform has ranged from a low of 1.5 million in the early postwar period to a high of 3.7 million during the Korean War, without any perceptible strain on the system. Draft calls fluctuate wildly. There was no call at all in June, 1961. Four years later, in July, 1965, the call was for 17,100 men. and it went to 40,200 for December, 1965.

In spite of these variations, the Selective Service System does its job with reasonable accuracy. In August, 1964, the call was 3300, and SSS supplied some 4200. The next month, SSS was 564 men low in meeting a 4900-man call. Over the long term, SSS comes out slightly high. From November, 1948, through June, 1964, 3,126,000 men were inducted to meet draft calls for 2,993,000. Viewed only as a machine for supplying rapidly changing numbers of bodies, selective service can fairly be said to have succeeded in meeting the requirements of the Armed Forces.

But any discussion of the draft must range more broadly.

First, selective service must be weighed in the wider context of military procurement policy. What would happen without it? The conventional opinion in Washington is that voluntary recruitment would fall off drastically, and that it would not be possible to maintain anything approaching the present force level of nearly 3 million men in uniform without continuing the draft. In the five-year period preceding the Vietnam buildup, the number of men on active duty ranged between 2.5 and 2.8 million. To keep the force at that level, 500,000 men were added each year to replace those whose tours of duty were up and did not reenlist. One fifth of the 500,000 were draftees, all of whom went into the Army during this period. In addition, some 130,000 men each year enlisted in the reserves, so that in fact only one sixth of the men going into uniform each year— into the reserves or onto active duty-were supplied directly by the draft.

The indirect impact, however, is far greater. One recent study shows that 40 percent of enlistees and junior officers coming onto active duty and 70 percent of those enlisting in the reserves would not have volunteered had it not been for the pressure of the draft. Instinct and experience suggest that those figures are conservative.

If the draft were stopped, and enlistments fell off as expected, military service would have to be made more widely attractive in order to bring the number of volunteers up high enough to maintain present force levels. The Pentagon estimates that the cost of increased pay and other incentives would add $4 billion to $6 billion a year to the defense budget to keep 2.7 million men under arms. For a 3-million-man force, which is the goal for mid-1966, the extra cost is estimated at a staggering $20 billion annually. Such a price may be worth paying to end the draft, but it seems unlikely that the present Administration or the present Congress would agree to pay it. What is more, an all-volunteer force is less flexible because it cannot be expanded so rapidly in an emergency as a force relying in part on conscripts. A further hazard is that changes in

the civilian job market could strip the services of critically skilled men before new incentives could be added to keep them in uniform.

Assuming, then, that the draft is here to stay, how can it be made to work more equitably? In fairness to the individual, and to advance a presumed public interest in having the burdens of national defense shared as widely as possible, it would seem desirable to have an increasing percentage of qualified men serve in the Armed Forces. If military training is nearly universal, the perennial question "Why me?" is easier to answer. It appears that the question of who should serve is going to become more acute, rather than less so, over the next decade. In the absence of a dramatic increase in the size of the Armed Forces over the next ten years, a smaller and smaller percentage of those qualified will be needed. The reason is simple. The generation born after the end of World War II is vastly larger than any other in the nation's history. If force levels stay reasonably constant, the proportion of those qualified who will actually have to serve will continue to decrease. The number of men between eighteen and a half and nineteen and a half was 1,470,000 in 1964. It will jump to 1,920,000 in 1966, and to 2,160,000 in 1974.

Already only half of American men reaching age twenty-six have performed military service. If force levels stay at 3 million, by 1974 only 42 percent of those reaching twenty-six will have had to serve. If the number of men in uniform should drop back to 2.7 million, the level before the Vietnam buildup began last year, then by 1974 only 35 percent, barely more than one third, of all men reaching age twenty-six will have put in any time at all on active duty. By 1974, the number of men reaching twenty-six, the end of military liability for those not deferred, will be 64 percent greater than it was ten years before.

Even in 1964 about half of the twenty-six-year-olds were escaping service. Who were they? Statistically, the best way to avoid being drafted has been to have either little education or a lot of it. Participation in military service is highest (60 percent) among high school graduates and those with some college education. It drops to 48 percent for those who did not graduate from high school, and to 40 percent for college graduates. The men who did not finish high school fail primarily on the mental test. High school and college graduates tend to fail chiefly on the physical examination, college graduates more than high school graduates, possibly because a man who has been deferred through college is older when he is examined than one who has taken the physical not long after high school graduation.

In 1963, as part of the groundwork for the Administration's poverty program, and particularly for the Job Corps, a presidential task force headed by Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz prepared a statistical study of men rejected for military service. The report was called "One-Third of a Nation," and the Rooseveltian echo in the title derived from a Pentagon estimate that if the entire draft-age population were examined, one third would be found unfit for service.

Unfortunately, the presidential task force study concentrates on men who failed the mental test. It makes no effort to explore the sociological backgrounds of men who are disqualified for physical reasons. In the brief discussion of medical disqualifications, the only interesting conclusion is that psychiatric disorders account for more rejections than any other cause except diseases and defects of bones and of organs of movement. (The report adds that 75 percent of those repected "would probably benefit from treatment.") The study of those rejected for failure to pass the mental test is more thorough, and the conclusions are dismal if unsurprising. The unemployment rate is four times higher among those who fail the mental test than it is among those who pass. Nearly a third of those who failed came from broken homes. Eighty percent were school dropouts. Almost half came from families with six or more children, and seven out of ten came from families with at least four children.

One hopeful note is that practically all of those rejected said, at least, that they wanted another chance; nine out of ten nonwhites and eight out of ten whites said they would take part in a program of education and training. General Hershey, for one, feels that in spite of such statistics, voluntary programs like the Job Corps are not a complete answer to this social and economie need. He argues that while those who volunteer need help, they need it less than those who refuse to volunteer.

To Hershey the only solution is universal military training (UMT)—not so much for its contribution to the national defense as for its character-building value in a society where, in his view, the family, the school, and the church have lost their effectiveness in molding the nation's youth. The military has little use for the idea, because UMT would mean considerable added expense without any increase in military effectiveness. The sole encouraging sign from the Pentagon has been Secretary Robert McNamara's STEP proposal in 1964, a special training enlistment program which would have allowed Army enlistees with inadequate educational qualifications to get some basic schooling along with military training. That plan got nowhere with Congress, and General Hershey thinks that even STEP is not enough. Here, too, he contends that a voluntary program reaches only those who need it least. If he could have his way, all men disqualified under present standards but with relatively minor handicaps would be put in a mandatory two-year rehabilitation program run by the Armed Forces. "I'm as popular as a bastard at a family reunion with the military because they don't want to run a correctional institution," General Hershey says. "But they have the know-how to teach discipline. It's not a matter of authority for the sake of authority. Authority is just a method of getting things done without being reduced to chaos. What I'm proposing isn't like Hitler. If this country decided to do this kind of thing, it would be the people who decided to do it and not some dictator. . . . The question is, what are you running? A force to garrison the world, or a training school for citizens? I guess I straddle that one."

General Hershey may straddle that issue, but the military and the Congress have not. After lengthy debate in 1952, during the Korean War, the House of Representatives killed a UMT bill by a vote of 236 to 162, in the face of a favorable report on the bill from its own Armed Services Committee under Carl Vinson of Georgia. The idea has made no more headway on Capitol Hill since. From the military standpoint, given current Pentagon doctrine, UMT is useless. If UMT is to have and military value, there must be a need for a large reserve force in lieu of, or in addition to, a large standing army. But to meet the nation's worldwide military commitments, particularly as weapons become more and more sophisticated, now requires a large, highly trained, highly mobile regular force.

A UMT plan providing six months active duty training, plus seven and a half years in the reserves for all who did not serve the draftee's two years, would add $2.5 billion a year to the national budget. The cost would not noticeably improve the nation's military readiness, but such a program would broaden military participation to include virtually all able-bodied men of military age. UMT would help solve the "why me?" problem, although it would not entirely eliminate it, and it has an unfortunate air of forced labor about it. However, if General Hershey is right in saying that military service can be a useful experience for the unenthusiastic citizen, particularly when the United States has wide and continuing military commitments which should tax all Americans alike, then UMT seems an acceptable possibility. It is cheaper than increasing pay to guarantee an adequate all-volunteer force, and it has the flexibility that an all-volunteer force does not. It can also be contended that UMT is not so unpopular politically as a majority of the House thought it to be in 1952. A Gallup poll last year found 83 percent of those queried favoring compulsory service of some sort for those who fail to pass the mental test.

There are other possibilities besides UMT for broadening the military load, or more precisely, for broadening participation by male citizens in the nation's defense commitments. (There is even the possibility of drafting women for clerical jobs in the military, although the political hazards of such a proposal are staggering. Nonetheless, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act provides that no one shall be discriminated against in employment on account of sex.) The Selective Service Act of 1948 provided twenty-one-month tours of active duty for draftees. That was increased to the present twenty-four months in 1951. Reducing the draftee's active-duty obligation would require more men

to be drafted. Hence it would also broaden military participation, though hardly so much as UMT. A return to twenty-one months would take 14 percent more draftees, but with the military-age population growing so rapidly, the cut in length of service would have to be much greater than three months to bring a significantly larger proportion into uniform.

Currently, most draftees are sent overseas, and out of a two-year hitch, they are actively soldiering for seventeen months. The remainder of the time goes for training, travel, and leave. A cut in the total active-duty obligation would thus reduce the draftee's effective service still further. A draft obligation of less than two years service might also make enlistment a less attractive alternative and force the services to reduce the standard terms of enlistment-set now at three years in the Army, four years in the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marines. and the Coast Guard.

One further possibility for broadening service participation is to provide nonmilitary forms of "alternate" or "equivalent" service. The law permits this now only for conscientious objectors, thousands of whom have served overseas in civilian capacities over the past twenty years. "It's pretty lousy living," says General Hershey, who adds that he is hardly anxious to recruit CO's. Before the Peace Corps was established, there was some thought of making it a substitute for military service, but as enacted, the law provides only that Peace Corps volunteers shall be deferred while enrolled. The question of providing alternatives to military service is a serious one, despite the obvious bias of some advocates who dislike the war in Vietnam but fail to qualify legally as conscientious objectors.

There are three difficulties. First, are there enough viable alternatives (for example, the Peace Corps; VISTA, its domestic counterpart; social work; teaching underpriviliged children, as in Project Head Start; voter registration in the South) to accommodate more than a token number of draft-eligible men?

Second, what really is equivalent to military service in physical danger, discipline, and susceptibility to recall in a national emergency? (Christopher Jencks of the Institute for Policy Studies has one answer to that question. "Suppose you asked a man in Harlem whether he wanted to serve in the Army or go register voters in Mississippi," Jencks suggests. "I think after two weeks in McComb the Army would start looking awfully attractive.")

The third problem: who qualifies for equivalent service, and who does not? The Peace Corps and many of the other suggested alternatives are more accessible to men with a college degree, and thus might not be open to most potential draftees. If a system of alternative service is to be fair, the choices must be available equally to all, and the means for selecting those who may perform alternative service must be equitable. Otherwise, the "why me?" problem persists. General Hershey is not unsympathetic to the idea of alternative service, but the practical difficulties baffle him. "I have tried to maintain an open mind on this," he asserts. "I can see where you start, but I don't know where you stop."

Without UMT, shorter active-duty obligations for draftees, or a significant program of alternative service, the Pentagon will be caught increasingly with an embarrassment of riches. As the draft-age population grows, more and more men will escape service simply because they are not needed. The age at which draftees are inducted will rise, as it invariably does when the supply of bodies exceeds the Armed Forces' demands, from the present twenty-one to as high as twenty-five in 1974. A high induction age is generally thought undesirable, since it prolongs uncertainty and complicates plans for education, career, and family. The result is that state of suspended humanity described by Saul Bellow's "Dangling Man" as he awaited call-up in 1942: "There is nothing to do but wait, or dangle, and grow more and more dispirited. It is perfectly clear to me that I am deteriorating, storing bitterness and spite which eat like acids at my endowment of generosity and good will."

Other ways to choose who should serve tend to limit rather than broaden the base of military participation. Raising induction standards, so that fewer men qualify for service, would have an unfortunate effect: short of some dramatic increase in the intellectual and physical demands on the average soldier, it seems more important to improve the qualifications of those subject to service, fitting them better for civilian life as well, than to limit military service to those with the highest mental and physical qualifications.

Broadening deferments is qually unsatisfactory, since the deferment system is already near the limits of its flexibility. Most students in good standing are already deferred. Reverting to deferment of all married men would once again artificially stimulate the marriage rate among men nearing induction age. It went up by more than 10 percent among twenty-one-year-olds after President Kennedy's 1963 order putting single men ahead of childless married men in draft priority. Liberalizing occupational deferments is in effect a backhanded way to set up a system of alternative service without personal sacrifice, and without opening it to the undereducated. Proportionately, because of the training required for most critical civilian jobs, many more college graduates have occupational deferments than do men with less education.

One remaining solution is a lottery. Lotteries were used in World War II to determine order of call-up at a time when the vast majority of men had to serve. Their use now, when only a minority is needed, would be different; the lotteries would determine which of those qualified would serve, not merely the order of call-up. If lots were drawn when the draft registrants were nineteen or twenty, and military service followed immediately for those picked for induction, a lottery system would substantially diminish uncertainty. But it raises serious questions of equity. A lottery is fair in the sense that a roulette wheel or a tossed coin is fair, but it provides only the cosmic impassivity of the laws of chance as an answer to the troublesome question "Why me, and not the other guy?" General Hershey adds: "If you use a lottery, you just admit that you don't know what the hell to do."

Albert Camus said that there is no justice, there are only limits. It may be too much to expect that any machinery vast enough to satisfy the massive manpower needs of the United States military establishment should operate with complete justice, but the limits of inconsistency should be narrow. The present structure of selective service could be improved by limiting local boards solely to classification, and then selecting inductees from a national pool. With that change, draftees would be inducted uniformly from the same category across the nation at any one time. As it is now, last December some local boards drafted childless men married before August 26, 1965, while others did not. This change would not solve the problem of the two management interns in the Department of Commerce, which is one of inconsistent classification, but it would remove another major inequity of the present system.

Beyond such administrative adjustments within selective service, equity becomes elusive. There may be no escape from the conclusion of the "Dangling Man": "Alternatives, and particularly desirable alternatives, grow only on imaginary trees."



Army: Minimum active duty, 3 years; basic training, 8 weeks.

Comment: Only service that guarantees specified training for high school graduates. Widest choice of schools.

Navy: Minimum active duty, 4 years; basic training, 7-9 weeks.
Comment: Three-year enlistments available in some areas.

Air Force: Minimum active duty, 4 years; basic training, 6 weeks.
Comment: Shortest basic; long enlistment.

Marine Corps: Minimum active duty, 2 years; basic training, 8 weeks.

Comment: Shortest enlistment; no active reserve obligation after discharge. Toughest training. Probable combat duty.

Coast Guard: Minimum active duty, 4 years; basic training, 9 weeks. Comment: Fewer "military" duties than other services. Long enlistment. Recruit pay: $87.90 per month, plus housing, meals, complete clothing issue, and all medical expenses.


These programs offer a short (four months minimum) active duty tour and a total reserve commitment of six years. Annual obligations for active reservists include 48 to 72 meetings and a two weeks summer camp.

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