Manpower Controls

August 21, 1950

Report Outline
Manpower in Total Mobilization for War
Manpower Controls in Earlier Wars
National Service and Full Labor Control
Alternative Plans for Labor Direction
Special Focus

Manpower in Total Mobilization for War

Pressure of Military and Industrial Demands

Manpower—the men and women equipped physically and by training to fill national military and economic needs—threatens to be the limiting basic resource if the United States is forced in the immediate future to mobilize for all-out war. In World Wars I and II, manpower requirements of the armed forces were met by selective service, and adequate manpower for industry was brought forth by wage incentives and appeals to patriotism, backed by limited labor controls. Fundamental changes in the country's population and in material requirements for fighting a modern war may make national service or similar forms of directed labor inevitable in a new total war emergency.

The legislation for economic mobilization now awaiting final action in Congress contains no provision for manpower controls. But the House Banking and Currency Committee was told by W. Stuart Symington, chairman of the National Security Resources Board, on July 24, a month after the outbreak of war in Korea, that “Manpower shortage in this emergency will be more pressing than ever before.” He had said before the Korean crisis that in the next war emergency “directed work may well be necessary.”

Bernard M. Earuch holds that a total mobilization program should include not only “an impartial selective service law, with a work-or-fight clause,” but also provision for “organization of manpower, to direct it where most needed, with an index of all essential skills and training facilities.” Paul V. McNutt, chairman of the War Manpower Commission in World War II, has said: “Any rational policy of manpower organization for future emergencies in an economic system such as obtains in the United States must start substantially from the point where it was left at the time the [last] war ended.”

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
Emergency Preparedness
Military Draft