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The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be pleased to hear you deliver your own statement, and I trust the committee members will permit it to be delivered without interruption. Then we will ask him some questions.
Secretary BURGESS. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARTER L. BURGESS
Secretary BURGESS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the Department of Defense considers that the legislation proposed in H. R. 3005 is essential to the security of the Nation and I welcome the opportunity to appear before you in support of it.
Section I, if enacted into law, will extend to July 1, 1959, the induction authority contained in section 17 (c) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951, as amended. The present induction authority will expire on July 1, 1955. If permitted to expire it will expire on July 1, 1955. If permitted to expire it will place the sole reliance for meeting manpower requirements on voluntary enlistments, and on those persons who have been deferred from military service.
Authority for induction of individuals who have been or are deferred will not be affected by termination of this provision. Until the age of 35, persons who have been deferred remain liable for induction, providing the reason for their deferment is eliminated, even should the present authority expire and not be renewed.
As you know, however, it has been in the national interest to defer certain individuals for limited periods of time from induction into the military service. To cancel these deferments abruptly would seriously jeopardize those interests, yet that action would be necessary if the induction authority is not extended. Further, those in deferred categories who are militarily qualified for active duty are not sufficient to meet military manpower requirements during this period.
ARMED FORCES STRENGTH WITHOUT INDUCTION AUTHORITY
Following World War II the military service had considerable difficulty in maintaining the strength of the Armed Forces. Induction authority expired in March 1947 with the result that enlistments in all services dropped and a year later, in March 1948, the Armed Forces reached a low of 1,400,000.
During the first half of fiscal year 1948, with Selective Service not in effect, and not even in the offing, the military services were able to recruit only 65 percent of the quotas they prescribed for their recruiting personnel. The passage of the Selective Service Act in the spring of 1948 immediately stimulated enlistments. Even so, at the end of fiscal year 1948 the volunteer enlisted strength of the active Army totaled 446,000. This was 144,000 below an authorized Army strength of 590,000.
ARMED FORCES STRENGTH WITH INDUCTION AUTHORITY
Armed Forces strength increased in fiscal year 1949 to 1,600,000. During this year there were only three monthly draft calls. With no draft calls during fiscal year 1950, the Armed Forces strength again dropped, this time in 1,460,000, which was the strength at the time of Korea.
It is from the experience I have just related that we believe the Armed Forces cannot maintain a strength in excess of about 1,500,000 by sole dependence on voluntary enlistments.
Today, our Armed Forces total a bit over 3 million men and women. The planned strength at the end of fiscal year 1956 is 2,850,000. This is about double the strength we were able to maintain in 1947 by voluntary means alone. It is clear that continuation of the induction authority is vital to the maintenance of our active forces strength and to our national security.
Active military forces of the magnitude of 2,850,000 will be required for the foreseeable future. Mr. Wilson has ably stated the impact our action on this matter will have on our allies and on our enemies. To our people, it will indicate the sternness of our national responsibility. It is primarily for these reasons that we request the induction authority be extended for 4 years.
UPPER AGE FOR INDUCTION
The age at which induction may take place should not be lowered from the current provision of law of 35 years. Lowering of the age at which liability for service ends would result in temporary deferments being extended into permanent exemptions. Escape from liability for service is not intended for any qualifigd person, not exempt by statute. This would be contrary to the concept of equity which the law contains. In this connection, statistics show that in fiscal year 1954, 6.1 percent of inductees were over the age of 26.
The Department of Defense feels strongly that this provision should be continued in consonance with the President's message on January 13 on national security in order that the principles of equity and the democratic processes inherent in the Selective Service System can be preserved.
FUTURE MANPOWER INPUT
To maintain an armed force strength of 2,850,000 through fiscal year 1959, with 1 million of these men in the Army, we estimate it will take about 670,000 24-month inductees, or an average of 14,000 monthly. This is in addition to a requirement for 2,100,000 voluntary enlistments in the same 4-year period. These figures are subject to modification as influences of the Career Compensation Act and other factors give us different enlistment and reenlistment experience.
While we use the induction authority to maintain the strength of the Army, the other services expect to maintain their strength entirely on a voluntary enlistment basis. Our analysis indicates this is feasible, provided they have the benefit of enlistments stimulated by the induction authority.
PERIODS OF ENLISTMENT
Current enlistments in the Navy and Air Force are for a minimum of 4 years; in the Marine Corps, the minimum is 3 years; in the Army the statutory minimum enlistment is 2 years. Without the induction authority, we have seen that the Armed Forces could not maintain their strength. Without this authority the other services would be required to reduce their minimum enlistment periods, as they had to do in 1947, in order to secure personnel.
With a reduced period of enlistment there is an attendant, but proportionately greater, loss in effectiveness. This loss in effectiveness would manifest itself where it would hurt the greatest-by reductions in the operating forces and in the supporting forces.
Mr. SHORT. Cost much more money.
Secretary BURGESS. Shorter terms of service mean lower level of skills are developed; personnel truns over faster; training loads increase; and transients increase. These all mean greater costs in manpower and smaller returns for the dollars invested. Under present conditions and commitments it would make it doubly difficult for us to maintain an economical rotation for our forces overseas.
INDUCTION AUTHORITY AND RESERVE FORCES
The extension of the draft is essential to the development of combat worthy reserve forces to provide a well-balanced national strength which the United States can afford to support in these times. This essential need will be highlighted when this committee considers the national reserve plan submitted by the President in his national security message.
This same need for highly developed military skills in the Reserve points to the necessity of continuing the present provision of law that imposes a minimum 8-year obligation on men entering military service.
INDUCTION AUTHORITY AND ROTC
In addition to the serious effect that the loss of the induction . authority would have on maintaining the enlisted personnel strengths, the loss of this authority would also seriously affect our ROTC program. Many of our young men are entering this program today primarily for the desire of fulfilling their military obligation as officers. This program would certainly suffer if this authority lapses.
TERM OF SERVICE FOR INDUCTEES
The second portion of this problem is the term of service which should be provided under the extended induction authority. We vigorously support the present 24 months as the minimum acceptable tour of duty. I realize full well that 2 years is a long interruption in the life of a young man-a young man whose health and mental qualities permit this interruption. But when I look at the kind of a country in which he lives and the way of life in which he makes an investment with his military service, I feel that it is the most rewarding investment of his lifetime. This is the way I personally feel about the service I performed before and during World War II.
A certain number of months of this 24-month period of service are consumed with basic training, leave, travel to duty stations within the Zone of Interior and to and from overseas locations. There is a minimum below which this cannot be reduced, if a young man is to be properly trained before he is exposed to the potential hazards of modern war which comes with assignment to a billet outside the training establishment. We have found that these functions take about 7 months. This means that the period of effective military service is not 24 months, but nearer to 17 months. These times I have identified are fixed and would be the same if the tour of obligated service were 3 years or 1 year. For every month we increase the period of service over 24 months, we would get the full return of a month of effective service; it is equally true that we lose a month of effective service for every month we decrease the total period of service.
The services will be able to demonstrate to you in detail the increased personnel it would take to maintain the same size operating forces with lesser periods of service for inductees. I am appalled when I view these pyramiding costs and realize how much more we must invest to obtain the same return which we can achieve with a 24-month tour of induction.
DEPENDENTS ASSISTANCE ACT
There is one additional matter I should like to mention before closing: Section 2 of the proposed legislation would extend the Dependents Assistance Act of 1950 until July 1, 1959. This coincides with the date for which induction authority is being requested. Unless extended, the Dependents Assistance Act will expire on July '1, 1955. It is considered that the extension of this act is an essential corollary to the draft.
The provisions of the Dependents Assistance Act alleviate to a large degree the financial hardships incurred by the families of those enlisted personnel, including inductees, who are now in the service, as well as those who will be required to serve in the future. The base pay of enlisted personnel is simply not enough to enable those who are married, or who have other dependents, to provide adequately for their families. Under this law, the Government and the enlisted man each contribute to the allotment of pay which goes to assist in the support of his dependents.
To permit the Dependents Assistance Act to expire on July 1, 1955, will result in serious financial hardship to the dependents of personnel who are now in the service, as well as those who enter in the next 4 years. It would create an unfavorable morale factor among servicemen and their dependents that would be a distinct disadvantage to the military services.
The manner in which lapse of this law would adversely affect voluntary enlistments needs no elaboration.
Mr. Wilson and Admiral Radford have explained clearly our departmental policy of stability in the Armed Forces, for however long a period of time we must keep up our guard. This proposed legislation will give us the ability to maintain that strength over the long haul without the terribly expensive costs which come from excessive turnover of personnel within the services.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for a very strong and forceful statement why the Selective Service Act should be extended 4 years.
The committee understands from your statement that the position of the Department of Defense is that the law should be extended just as is without any amendments?
Secretary BURGESS. That is our position, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, let me ask you in regard to this statement in your paper.
You said this: In this connection statistics show that in fiscal 1954 6.1 percent of inductions were over the age of 26.
Now, when Mr. Blandford was submitting a brief analysis of the law he called to the committee's attention, the thought was running through my mind that those who enlist in the National Guard under the age of 1842 years, that their period of being subject to the draft should terminate at the age of 26 instead of 35, which is the law today.
Secretary BURGESS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, the only thought that is running through my mind: if 26 is the terminating age limit, except where the deferments have been given to students and then they find themselves in such status with their educational program, then it extends in that case up to 35 years of age.
But my point was that I thought that if a boy joined the National Guard before he was subject to the draft and served his period of enlistment in the National Guard, then he would not be subject to the draft if he were not drafted before he reached his 26 years
Under the law today they draft him if he is 34 years of age. Any comment on that?
Secretary BURGESS. Yes; I would like to comment on that, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAX. That makes that issue clear.
Secretary BURGESS. I realize that we are not taking up the national reserve plan today, and of course our proposal in the national reserve plan would have provided for those young men to have volunteered in the National Guard and served 6 months and not been eligible for the draft in their remaining 9-year period, which would have taken them up to approximately the age of 26 or 27. And that was the way that we were providing for that under that plan.
Now, I haven't taken this point under consideration, sir, if in the event we did not get those features in the other plan, I think that would be something we would be perfectly willing to consider.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, let me ask this one question. I agree with the Department. I can see no need for any amendments to any great extent. The country knows what it is, as well as the committee. But we want a few amendments to make it more equitable and fairer than it is today.
Now, the other amendment that was running through my mind was that after, within a certain date, if they served 6 months on active