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FULL COMMITTEE HEARINGS ON H. R. 3005 "TO FURTHER
AMEND THE UNIVERSAL MILITARY TRAINING AND SERVICE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, February 1, 1955. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Carl Vinson, (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the committee come to order.
Members of the committee, the purpose of the hearing this morning is to consider H. R. 3005.
(The bill is as follows:)
[H. R. 3005, 84th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To further amend the Universal Military Training and Service Act by extending the authority to iniuct certain individuals, and to extend the benefits under the Dependents Assistance Act to July 1, 1959
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That subsection 17 (c) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act (ch. 144, 65 Stat. 87), as amended, is further amended by striking out "July 1, 1955" where it appears therein and inserting in lieu thereof "July 1, 1959”.
Sec. 2. Section 16 of the Dependents Assistance Act of 1950 (ch. 922, 64 Stat. 797), as amended by the Act of March 23, 1953 (ch. 8, 67 Stat. 6), is further amended by striking out "July 1, 1955” where it appears therein and inserting in lieu thereof "July 1, 1959”.
The CHAIRMAN. This is a bill extending what is usually referred to as the Draft Act, technically the Universal Military Training and Service Act, for a period of 4 years. It expires on July 1, 1955. It is essential for the defense of this country that this law be extended. So the hearing this morning is for that purpose, and also, at the same time, we will consider the extension of the Dependents Assistance Act, which expires at the same date.
Now, I think it might be Are any of these new members here? Mr. BLANDFORD. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. I think it is important that I just make a little statement as to the historical background of the Selective Service. It won't take but a minute.
The old Selective Service Act of 1940 expired on June 30, 1947, and 1 year later the President asked for a new law, stating that voluntary enlistments had failed to maintain the Armed Forces at a level consistent with the national safety.
So on June 24, 1948, the present law, under which we are now operating, was signed by the President. It was a 2-year law, scheduled to expire on June 24, 1950. 55066-55—No. 2-1
On June 23, the Selective Service Act was extended for a period of 15 days to July 9, 1950. And on June 30, the law was extended until July 9, 1951.
On June 19, 1951, the present law was extended for a period of 4 years, to June 30, 1955.
Now, I thought it might be well for the record to put that information in.
Of course, we have a statement from the President to the effect that we cannot maintain an armed force of more than 1,500,000 men without this act. So it is absolutely imperative that we extend the selective-service law, and that is the purpose of the hearing this morning
I think, before I call the first witness, that it might be a good idea for Mr. Blandford, the counselor, to explain to the members of the committee, to refresh their minds, and particularly the new members, the pertinent parts of the law.
And Mr. Blandford has prepared a statement to that effect, and I think it would be a good thing for the members of the committee, so you will know exactly what the law is today, and then there will be 2 or 3 instances where I am going to call the committee's attention to certain amendments and no doubt there will be other amendments proposed by witnesses that we will take up tomorrow.
Now, go ahead, Mr. Blandford.
The CHAIRMAN. Read slow enough so every member can follow you and know exactly what you are talking about.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Every male citizen of the United States must register for the draft upon attaining the age of 18. Aliens are also required to register if they have been admitted for permanent residence, and all other male aliens who remain in the United States for 1 year or longer must register.
Persons may be inducted into the Armed Forces after attaining the age of 18%, except that no man under the age of 19 can be inducted if there are persons within the jurisdiction of the local board who are available for induction and who are 19 or over.
At present they are drafting men about the age of 21. That is the general level of the draft age is.
Physical and mental standards are low. They are the minimum standards which were in effect in January of 1945, I might add, the lowest that we have ever had.
Persons inducted must serve for 24 months unless sooner released under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
Individuals who are inducted have a total obligation of 8 years, which means 2 years on active duty and 6 years in the Reserve. Certain people are exempt from registration, such as active members of the Armed Forces, midshipmen, and cadets.
Now, this is what the law says with regard to veterans: The following persons are considered veterans who must register but are liable for induction: First, any individual who served on active duty for a period of 12 months or more between the period September 16, 1940, and June 24, 1948; second, any person who served on active duty for a period of 90 days or more between December 7, 1941, and
September 2, 1945, referred to as the shooting-war period. Training in the Army specialized training program or similar programs of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, or service at the Naval or Military Academy or Coast Guard Academy is not considered active duty for the purpose of determining whether an individual is a veteran.
A person who served for a period of 90 days or more but less than 12 months between the period September 16, 1940, and June 24, 1948, and who is not a veteran because he did not serve for 90 days or more between December 7, 1941, and September 2, 1945, is not liable for induction except in time of war or national emergency, declared by the Congress, if his local board determines he is enlisted or commissioned in an organized unit of his branch and that it is reasonably accessible to such person without interrupting his normal pursuits and activity, including college attendance, or if no organized unit is available, he is a member of a Reserve component of his branch, which would mean a Reverse unit but not an organized unit. Likewise, the local board may hold an individual not liable for induction if the board determines that enlistment or commission in a Reserve component is not available.
Now, this is significant: The only other veterans by law are those persons discharged from the Armed Forces after June 24, 1948, with 3 or more years of active duty to their credit. Theoretically, persons released from active duty under the present draft law who have been inducted since June 24, 1948, are not veterans under the definition of the Universal Military Training and Service Act. However, they undoubtedly could not be reinducted, since they have complied with the law under which they were originally inducted, if they served for a period of 24 months, unless sooner discharged under procedures prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
Some individuals with less than 6 months of service have, however, been reclassified under a Presidential directive and reinducted under the present law. That is only applicable, however, so far, to people inducted under the present law who have served for less than 6 months.
Now, those people in many cases were released for hardship reasons, and then when they got home the hardship disappeared and they were out of the service, and therefore the President directed the local boards to reclassify these individuals, and in some cases they have been reinducted.
Now, that has also been true on hardship cases, not through the process of a Presidential directive but because the local boards have been advised of a change in the situation.
Mr. Fisher. It is also true, isn't it, in regard to those discharged through disability but whose disability was corrected subsequently?
Mr. BLANDFORD. That could be true, Mr. Fisher, Whether they have actually inducted anybody whose physical condition has improved to the extent where he can then serve, I do not know. There may well be.
The CHAIRMAN. Members of the committee, at this point I am going to suggest that we take up, when General Hershey is testifying, this provision. I think it should be amended. I won't trespass on the time now, but we will bring it up at that point.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Well, I was going to mention, Mr. Chairman, that you were going to propose an amendment that no person who has
served honorably on active duty after September 16, 1940, for a period of 6 months or more in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or the Coast Guard, would be liable for induction except after a declaration of war or national emergency made by the Congress. Now, there will be a fuller explanation of that situation. There are three veterans groups, as I have outlined, and in some cases we are inducting people under the present law and have inducted people under the present law who served for a considerable period of time
The CHAIRMAN. Twenty-two months in some cases.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Twenty-two months in some cases, as the chairman has indicated, and yet have been inducted and been required to serve 24 months under the present law.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead and explain the law.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Now, let's go into the Reserve situation. Members of the organized units of the National Guard and all other organized units of the armed services are exempt--now, there is a distinction between being deferred and exempt—if they were members on February 1, 1951, and have served satisfactorily continuously since that time they are exempt.
Note that these individuals are exempt and not deferred, and thus are not liable to induction after passing the age of 26.
On the other hand, those who joined National Guard units prior to attaining the age of 18 years and 6 months may be deferred from induction so long as they participate in the National Guard, but if they leave the National Guard and have been deferred because of their National Guard service, they remain liable until the age 35.
Individuals may be deferred from induction who are in the senior division of the ROTC or other officer-training programs, provided they agree in writing to accept the commission if tendered and to serve on active duty not less than 2 years after receipt of the commission.
These individuals may have an additional year of service added to their obligation if they receive financial assistance while attending a civilian college. Aviation cadets likewise may be deferred for a period not to exceed 4 months, which is renewable, prior to being accepted for cadet training.
Now, note that National Guardsmen who enter the National Guard prior to attaining the age of 18 years and 6 months are deferred from induction so long as they participate in the National Guard. But another provision of the law says that any person who is deferred remains liable for induction until the age 35. Thus young men who join the National Guard before attaining the age of 18%-and they probably don't know this-must remain in the Active Reserve until age 35, under present law. This seems to be unduly harsh, and as the chairman has indicated, might have an adverse effect upon the purpose of the provision which allows enlistment in the National Guard if it is not remedied.
Mr. Vinson has indicated that he will propose an amendment later to except these individuals from the liability to age 35, so that their liability will only extend to age 26.
The CHAIRMAN. That is uniformity in age limit.
Now, general deferments. The authority for all other deferments is contained in section 6 (h) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act. Under this provision the President is authorized to pro
vide for the deferment of any or all categories of persons, and I will quote the law:
Whose employment in industry, agriculture or other occupations or employment or whose continued employment in an office, other than an office described in subsection (f), under the United States or any State, Territory or possession, or the District of Columbia, or whose activity in study, research or medical, dental, veterinary, optometric, osteopathie, scientific, pharmaceutical, chiropractic, chiropodial, or other endeavors found to be necessary to the maintenance of the national health, safety or interest: Providedand this is the important thingThat no person within any such category shall be deferred except upon the basis of his individual status: Provided further, That persons who are or may be deferred under the provisions of this section shall remain liable for training and service in the Armed Forces under the provisions of section 4 (a) of this act until the 35th anniversary of the date of their birth.
That is the end of the quote from the law.
Now, note that individuals may only be deferred on the basis of individual status, and since June 19, 1951, the President has been precluded from deferring anybody because of marriage except in cases of extreme hardship. We changed the law in 1951 in that connection.
Now, the President is authorized to defer individuals with wives and children or children alone. However, by Presidential regulation since August 25, 1953, registrants not already deferred as fathers could not use fatherhood as a basis for obtaining exemption from the draft unless they can show extreme hardship, or deferment, I shall say. Children conceived after August 25, 1953, no longer constitute a basis for deferment.
High-school students must be deferred until graduation or until attaining their 20th birthday.
College students are entitled to one automatic deferment to complete an academic year. Conscientious objectors may also be deferred from combatant service, and if they are opposed to any type of military service, may be required to perform, for a period of 24 months, civilian work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest.
Sole surviving sons may not be inducted where one or more sons or daughters of the family were killed in action or died in line of duty while serving in the service of the United States or subsequently died as a result of injuries received or disease incurred during such service.
Now, that is the act in brief.
The law is administered by local boards throughout the United States and its territories. There are 3,951 local boards, with 92 appeal boards and 28 panels operating in some of the States where they have the appeal boards.
The boards are set up on the basis of judicial, Federal judicial districts. Each State has at least one appeal board. Selective Service operates with 39,793 uncompensated employees and 7,195 compensated employees.
The CHAIRMAN. Read that again, so the country and the committee can get that in their mind.
Mr. BLANDFORD. All right, sir.
Mr. SHORT. About the only remuneration many of these faithful and loyal Americans have received have been untold abuse.