Reserve Forces and the Draft

January 20, 1965

Report Outline
Proposal to Reorganize Reserve Forces
Evolution of Dual Reserve-Guard Setup
Changing Reserve Needs and the Draft

Proposal to Reorganize Reserve Forces

Mcnamara Plan to Merge Reserve and Guard

Secretary of defense Robert S. McNamara has renewed his three-year-long struggle to streamline and strengthen the country's military reserve forces. At a Pentagon news conference, Dec. 12, McNamara announced plans to create a single Army reserve force, 550,000 strong, under management of the National Guard. All Army Reserve units not transferred to the Guard would be eliminated; all individuals not assigned to a specific unit would be placed in an inactive manpower pool. The proposed reorganization, McNamara said, would cut defense costs by about $150 million a year.

McNamara proposes to abolish no fewer than 21 of the existing 29 reserve divisions. The remaining eight “priority” divisions would be maintained at 80 per cent of authorized manpower strength and be fully equipped with modern weapons and vehicles. All of the divisions marked for extinction are understrength and poorly equipped; hence reorganization would result in a net loss of only 150,000 in over-all reserve strength.

In a pair of related moves, McNamara severed the close ties that have existed between members of Congress and Pentagon officers. Henceforth, the Secretary said, all trips by members of Congress and their staffs in military aircraft or to military installations would be arranged by his office, not by individual military departments as formerly. In addition, McNamara announced his intention to transfer from the Ready (active) Reserves of the armed services to the Standby (inactive) Reserves as many as 5,000 “key federal personnel” holding posts in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the government.

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