Military Manpower

June 3, 1954

Report Outline
Reassessment of Military Manpower Needs
Reserves as Source of Service Manpower
Reliance on Conscription for Manpower
Proposals to Solve Manpower Problem
Special Focus

Reassessment of Military Manpower Needs

In the unhappy but not unlikely event that the Geneva conference fails to bring a cease-fire in Indo-China, the United States may be forced to make up its mind whether it will intervene in the Southeast Asian conflict. Administration spokesmen have made it plain that intervention will not be undertaken except in cooperation with other countries. However, a large share of the military burden, even if not as large a share as in Korea, would have to be borne by the United States. And although the talk has been of limiting any American intervention to naval and air action, it is a question whether such a limitation could be made to stick much longer in Indo-China than it did in Korea.

If it comes to military intervention in Southeast Asia, the action will carry grave risks of deeper involvement—the risk of full-scale intervention if the original action is limited and, whether limited or not, always the risk that the war will spread beyond Indo-China. Should one or another of those risks become reality, and troops start moving to the Far East in large numbers, the Army would have to rely mainly on the draft for the required expansion of forces. At the same time, it would be taking steps to mobilize existing reserve contingents.

Even if events in Southeast Asia do not take the currently feared turn for the worse, persisting threats and tensions will make it necessary for government officials to press forward with efforts to find new and more satisfactory means of building and maintaining an adequate reserve of trained military manpower. Various steps to that end already have been taken. The importance of pushing the task is underlined by the recurrent crises through which the world is passing and by the prospect that the nation's need to hold itself in military readiness will be as urgent tomorrow as it is today.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Military Draft
Aug. 19, 2005  Draft Debates
Jan. 11, 1991  Should the U.S. Reinstate the Draft?
Jun. 13, 1980  Draft Registration
Jun. 20, 1975  Volunteer Army
Nov. 17, 1971  Rebuilding the Army
Nov. 18, 1970  Expatriate Americans
Mar. 20, 1968  Resistance to Military Service
Jun. 22, 1966  Draft Law Revision
Jan. 20, 1965  Reserve Forces and the Draft
Feb. 14, 1962  Military Manpower Policies
Jun. 03, 1954  Military Manpower
Sep. 24, 1952  National Health and Manpower Resources
Oct. 24, 1950  Training for War Service
Aug. 21, 1950  Manpower Controls
Aug. 13, 1945  Peacetime Conscription
Sep. 09, 1944  The Voting Age
Apr. 15, 1944  Universal Military Service
Feb. 17, 1942  Compulsory Labor Service
Jun. 11, 1941  Revision of the Draft System
Aug. 14, 1940  Conscription in the United States
Apr. 24, 1939  Conscription for Military Service
Defense Personnel
Reserves and National Guard