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some form of compulsion-the numbers required to meet their needs. But UMT would meet only part of the equity problem—it is unlikely that there would be enough enlistments to obviate the need for a selective draft; it would be inefficient the short training would not be of much value; and it would be very costly-perhaps as much as $2 to $3 billion every year.

Another proposal aimed at better matching the large numbers available for service and the limited needs of the Armed Services is to reduce the required length of service for draftees to below the present two-year minimum. However, even with two years of service for draftees the Army gets limited use out of many men, since so much time must be devoted to processing, training, and traveling. The small gains which would be made in equity by drafting larger numbers for a shorter period of time would be more than counterbalanced by large losses in efficiency and economy.

Can we eliminate the draft completely and have the Armed Services rely solely on volunteers? The Department of Defense has recently estimated that even after taking into acocunt the larger pool of eighteen-year-olds who will be available in the early 1970's, the maximum all-volunteer force that could be maintained would be 2 million at the present 4 percent level of unemployment, and 2.2 million if a 5.5 unemployment rate were postulated. This would leave a significant deficit even if force levels returned to their pre-Vietnam figures. An even more serious problem would be how the Armed Services could attract the specialists who play an even larger role in the successful operation of modern military organizations. For example, how could the Armed Services induce 3,000 physicians to volunteer for active duty?

Despite the contentions of some economists, such as Milton Friedman, it is doubtful that the American people would approve of an additional annual expenditure of between $4 billion and $17 billion for our Armed Forces; this is the sum which the Department of Defense calculates would be necesary to recruit and support an all-volunteer force at the pre-Vietnam level. These sizable additional expenditures have taken into account offsetting savings in training costs and in reduced turnover that a career force would make possible.

A further objection to an all-volunteer force is that it would be exceedingly difficult to man the active reserves. Moreover, the costs of responding to a sudden increase in requirements, such as during the buildup in Vietnam, could be horrendous if we had to rely on monetary incentives to attract quickly several hundred thousand additional men.

A third approach would be to develop, under universal "military" training, a system of civilian assignments which would be considered the equivalent of a term of duty in the Armed Services. Currently, two years in the Peace Corps is treated in this way by most draft boards. Can we designate a large number of such positions-teaching or social work in depressed rural and urban areas, scientific or tehcnical work in specified fields, civilian jobs in U.S. overseas operations other than the Peace Corps? The list of high priority useful jobs can be readily enlarged.

However, there are many objections to this proposal, too. Among the most important are the clear advantages that this would give to young people from middle and upper income homes who attend or graduate from college. In addition, the problem which would result from paying these young people at the prevailing rate of civilian wages would be enormous-as would be the problem which would result from paying them less! Furthermore, the availability of alternatives to military duty might have a serious effect on the inflow of trained manpower into the Armed Services; any other assumption would not be realistic. Finally, our liberal-democratic traditions view with strong distaste the kind of large scale and permanent governmental direction of civilian labor that such a program would entail.

These arguments against the suspension or abolition of the draft hold for now and for the proximate future. If the fighting in Vietnam were to come to a halt; if no other front were to become active: if the size of the Armed Forces could be reduced from the present three million to closer to two million: if energetic efforts were made to replace several hundred thousand men in uniform (in clerical positions, in base maintenance, in hospitals) with civilians: if the reserve structure could be further reduced-then in fact it might be worthwhile to see whether the conditions of military service could be improved to a point where the Armed Services might obtain the military manpower they need solely through enlistments. But this is clearly something for the distant future, not for tomorrow.


The real challenge is to design an alternative that will result in a more universal sharing of the risk of service while providing the Armed Services, at a reasonable cost, with the numbers and quality of manpower they require. In my opinion, a lottery can substantially meet the test for equity. If all young men are not needed by the Armed Services, a lottery is the fairest method of determining on whom the obligation should fall. However, even a lottery should not mandate the induction of all those selected at one specific age, such as nineteen. It is clearly advantageous for the Armed Services if certain young men complete college or even go further in their education before they are called upon to serve. Those who receive a deferment to continue their education, however, must take their chances when they complete their schooling. They would enter the lottery at that point. A rough estimate suggests that since more than 70 percent of all young men complete high school, and since half go on to junior or four-year college, approximately one-third would enter the lottery at an age older than nineteen.

The key element of a national lottery for military service is an annual list of all young men liable for military service. The requirements of the Armed Services would determine the proportion of the group to be called. Those not called in any one year could make their plans reasonably assured that they would not be called at all, except in an emergency. Such a system could be put in effect just as soon as the international situation begins to stabilize. Unless the Vietnam war accelerates far beyond our worst fears, the number of young men available for service will grow steadily larger than the number required. General Hershey is fundamentally opposed to the lottery. He argues that it has not worked satisfactorily in the past and that it would be unsatisfactory again. He states that the American people would object if such fundamental decisions as who should serve and who should be deferred were to hang on the turn of a wheel. He believes that reliance on the decisions of local citizens is much to be preferred.

Now, it is quite true that no system can be perfect and that the most carefully constructed lottery will have its faults. Thus, if the requirements of the Armed Services fluctuate, the risk for men entering the lottery in one year instead of another will not be the same. This kind of multiple chanciness can be nerve-wracking for those who are involved. But the fact remains that the present system cannot be continued and will not be continued once the Congress and the Presidential Commission highlight its gross inequities. Given that fact, a lottery would appear to be the most sensible and least problematic of all alternatives to selective service.

A lottery can be reinforced with "fringe benefits" to make the incidence of luck less brutal. Since there would still be gross differences in sacrifices between those who serve and those who do not, the gap could be reduced by raising the level of military pay and by providing educational and training benefits for the inductee and enlistee. For instance, it would be desirable if the armed services were to provide educational and training benefits, prior to their entering upon a term of active duty, for young men who join the enlisted reserve. Such a system would prove both efficient and economic, since it would reduce the amount of time and resources that the Armed Services have to devote to training their own specialists. The G.I. bill, which was recently passed, also makes a contribution to greater equity. I would further favor providing transitional education and training benefits for career men who, at the end of twenty years service, must fit themselves into the civilian economy.

One other point: present standards for military service lead to the rejection of large numbers of young men of limited aptitude and education—roughly one third of the age class. The manpower pool is sufficiently large that the Armed Services do not have to induct the hard-to-train and hard-to-discipline. From the vantage point of the Armed Services, such a policy is easy to appreciate. But if the frame of reference is broadened from the military to the national scene, this policy is not the only possible-or the only correct-one. Under recent federal legislation, we have been spending over two billion dollars annually in training and retraining young people without jobs; and we shall probably soon spend much more. In World War II, the Armed Services, particularly the Army, did an outstanding job in providing special training opportunities for a half million illiterates.

The establishment of the Job Corps, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, and other training and training-related efforts under civilian auspices appears to have decided the issue in favor of the civilian sector.

Yet the recent statement of the Secretary of Defense that the Armed Services will induct annually about 100,000 men with low aptitude scores suggests that some policy ambivalence exists about the preferred manner of dealing with disadvantaged youth.

This move by the Department of Defense may provide the opportunity for a good experimental study of the relative effectiveness of military versus civilian efforts at socialization of, and skill acquisition by, disadvantaged youth. It is by no means clear that private corporations, nonprofit organizations, or civilian governmental departments will be able to do as good a job as the Armed Services.

This much is clear: military manpower policy can never be effectively separated from national manpower policy. And national manpower policy must always be the concern of the entire citizenry.

[From the Trans-Action, March 1967]


(By Morris Janowitz)

Current demands for changes in the Selective Service System are rooted in part in the strong public presumption that the draft operates with a definite bias against America's lower socio-economic groups. This claim has an important element of truth. But this image of social class bias is so oversimplified as to be an inadequate and even dangerous basis for public discussion of the draft.

The purpose of this article is to examine some of the social class and demographic factors involved in the impact of the Selective Service System and to propose an alternative system which I believe to be more compatible with the needs and goals of political democracy.

First of all, what are the origins of the presumption of bias in the draft? When selective service was reinstituted in 1950 during the Korean conflict, it was only for a partial mobilization in contrast to the more total mobilization of World War II. There was a military need for only part of the young men between 19 and 26. There was also a desire not to disturb the flow of trained civilians into the professions and sciences. In addition, the Selective Service System did not want responsibility for determining who should go on to higher education. As a result, occupational and educational criteria were used as the basis for deferment.

In the public view, this unfairly placed the burden of military service on those who did not go to college on the lower socio-economic groups. After the Korean war, a set of demographic factors contributed to the validity of this perception. From the end of the Korean conflict until the period of the South Vietnam build-up, the available manpower in age groups eligible for selective service steadily increased, and the number who had to be drafted steadily decreased. The result was even greater reliance on occupational and educational deferments. In order to piece together a fuller and more detailed picture of the social consequences of the draft, we must now turn to the efforts of a handful of social researchers. We must also add inferences drawn from the operational statistics of government agencies and special governmental surveys.


At the outset, it is of prime importance to make a distinction between the recruitment patterns of selective service and the allocation of manpower within the armed services. During the Korean hostilities, research has shown that the burdens of war, especially the incidence of casualties, fell disproportionately on lower socio-economic groups. This resulted as much from the way manpower was utilized by the ground forces as from the social bias of selective service. Among non-commissioned officers and enlisted men in the ground forces where the bulk of Korean war casualties occurred, the heavier incidence of casualties was among lower socio-economic groups. The lowest income groups had four

times the casualty rate of the highest group, while Negro casualties were proportionately twice as numerous. The division of labor in the military establishment meant that young men with better education (and higher socio-economic position) were sent to advanced training and specialized units where casualty rates were lower. Infantry units, those units which in the language of the military require "soft skills," were staffed with men of limited educational preparation and reflected a lower class and rural background. At the officer level, because of the emphasis on college graduation as a requirement for officers, there was a bias in the reverse direction.

After the Korean conflict, selective service, while it had definite biases, operated with relative fairness, especially since there were no combat operations. The very few casualties occurred mainly in Air Force units engaged in routine aerial operations. These were officers of higher socio-economic background and reflected the exposure to risks that a professional officer corps has to take.

The basic manpower requirements of the armed forces between conflicts were met by two sources: small quotas of young men were drafted and were assigned to the Army; the bulk of the requirements were met through volunteers who were responding in part to the pressure of the Selective Service System. This pressure not only generated men into the enlisted ranks but also into various short-term officer programs. The Air Force and the Navy, because of more attractive conditions of work and the specialized training they offered, could rely on volunteers exclusively. In fact, after the end of the Korean conflict, standards of recruitment were raised and kept out low income and Negro young men who wished to serve, but who were made ineligible because of educational requirements. The Marine Corps was also able to attract the personnel required because of its traditions and its image in American society. In addition, Marine Corps recruitment was aided by an initial enlistment of two years as opposed to the three-year term for the Army. Since Vietnam, however, the Marines have also drawn from selective service.

On the basis of available materials it is possible to describe the educational and social background of those who actually served in the armed forces during the period before the expansion of manpower for South Vietnam. At this point we are interested in the incidence of all types of military service-whether a man volunteered or was drafted, whether he was an officer or an enlisted manfor all these types of military service are influenced by the operation of the Selective Service System.

A good indicator is the military experience of men who were aged 27 to 34 in 1965 these men had already passed through the period of their eligibility for selective service. Of this group, those whose education ranged from completion of nine years in school to completion of college, roughly the same percentage (about 70 percent) in each group had served in the military. At the lower end of the educational continuum the incidence of military service declines sharply: only one-third of those with less than grammar school education had served in the military. At the upper end of the continuum there was also a decline: of those who entered graduate and professional school, only one-quarter entered active service.

The reasons are obviously different. Those with less than eight years of education were deferred on the basis of unfitness, a direct expression of their low educational achievement and related medical and psychiatric disabilities. Graduate and professional study produced exemption on the basis of educational deferment, often supplemented by marital deferment. In effect, a young man's chances of serving in the armed forces are decreased to the extent that he applies his energies to extending to extending his education beyond four years of college. (This analysis does not include the limited number of agricultural deferments which tended to favor those with lower levels of education.)

Since education in the United States is unequally distributed, in order to understand the social risks of the military service, it is necessary to analyze these issues in terms of socio-economic categories, particularly in terms of the interplay of social class and race. The interplay of these two factors has meant that in the recent past the Negro is under-represented in the armed services. This can be seen in two different ways.

Among men with less than eighth grade education, Negroes served to a lesser degree than whites. The same held true among those with nine to eleven grades of education. But among high school graduates Negroes and whites served in similar proportions.


Among men of low socio-economic background, the difference in military service between Negroes and whites with middle class socio-economic background declines.


The overall participation of Negroes has risen from 8.2 percent in 1962 to 9.0 percent in 1965 and is most likely to continue to rise. This rise is related both to the procurement rate of new Negro personnel and more pointedly to the reenlistment rates of Negroes. During the period 1962 through 1965, Negroes-both volunteers and inductees-were entering the armed services at about their proportion in the civilian society. Given the attractiveness of a military career to low income groups, this percentage still reflects the lack of educational preparation of Negroes. But the period 1962-1965 was one of an improvement in the quantity and quality of Negroes seeking admission to the armed services.

On the other hand, once there was an increase in selective service quotas in the latter part of 1965 because of South Vietnam, the procurement of Negroes by induction fell from 15.2 percent to 10.8 percent in December 1965. This shows that representative draft without college deferments would in the long run contribute to the elimination of any over-representation of Negro enlisted personnel, a point to be borne in mind for further discussion of this problem below. However, more important in accounting for the representation of Negroes in the armed forces is the markedly higher reenlistment rate for Negro enlisted personnel. In 1965 the first term reenlistments of white personnel was 17.1 percent while for Negroes it was 45.1 percent. Given their educational backgrounds and previous levels of skills, Negroes have tended to concentrate in the combat arms of the Army where the opportunities are greatest for rapid advancement into non-commissioned officer positions. In some units, such has the Airborne the percentage of Negroes is near 40. Overall participation of Negroes in Vietnam for the last part of 1965 showed the Army had the highest proportion with 15.8 percent, the Air Force 8.3 percent, the Marines 8.9 percent, and the Navy 5.1 percent. From 1961 to 1965 Negro fatalities were 237 out of 1,620 or 14.6 percent. The armed services are aware of the dangers of creating units in which Negroes are concentrated. It is, of course, basic to the operations of the armed services not to use racial quotas; on the contrary, they look with pride on the success of integrating the Negro into combat units, for success in combat units is the basis of military prestige. The armed services have a variety of personnel practices designed to distribute Negroes more equally throughout the services, but these are only slowly being implemented. Given the high rate of reenlistment among Negroes, it is not difficult to anticipate future trends.

Thus, in summary, it is clear that there have been distortions of the Selective Service System, mainly in the past, through the exclusion of low educational groups, especially Negroes, and contrariwise through exclusion of persons following post-college education. To some degree, exclusion at the lower levels will be modified as educational standards of the country rise and criteria for selection are altered. Efforts on the part of the armed services to deal with this question by having special remedial battalions have not received congressional support; but special civilian or military programs are certain to emerge in the years ahead not only because of the requirements of the military but because of broader social policy. Already the Secretary of Defense has lowered the entrance standards and thereby increased the input of low income groups into the armed forces. Between 40,000 and 100,000 "category four" men (percentiles 10-30 in mental tests) will be inducted because it is believed that the armed forces can efficiently train and utilize them. Alternatively, distortions due to post-college education seem to be growing as the emphasis on such education increases in the United States. In the current situation we are dealing not only with the facts of distortion but with the growing public conviction that educational deferments per se are morally undesirable.

Asssessment of the past performance of the Selective Service System must encompass more than the social characteristics of those who entered military service. We must also look at its administrative effectiveness. The system has operated in the past with a considerable degree of effectiveness in meeting immediate and short term requirements. In fact, its basic concern with month-to-month procurement in part prevented the development of a longer range perspective and a capacity to meet changing requirements.

The organization represents an effective balance between highly centralized policy decision-making and decentralized implementation. The Selective Service

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