Draft Law Revision

June 22, 1966

Report Outline
National Debate Over Draft Inequities
System of Selection and Deferment
Origins of Selective Service System
Alternatives to the Present System
Special Focus

National Debate Over Draft Inequities

Because of increased manpower needs in Viet Nam, military draft procedures are receiving their closest scrutiny since the Korean War. Public officials and educators have called for a thorough overhaul of the machinery which now makes the nearly two million males who reach 18 each year liable to active service in the armed forces for a period of 24 months. Current draft procedures are laid down by the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951, which expires June 30, 1967. Critics have been demanding prompt hearings on revision of the law so that necessary changes can be made at the next session of Congress.

Shortly before the end of the first decade of the present act, draft calls ranged from 6,000 to 9,000 a month. Last summer the need for men took a sharp upward swing. President Johnson announced July 28, 1965, that draft calls would be doubled and recruiting intensified. Lieut. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Director of the Selective Service System, told draft directors of 10 states meeting at Fort Stewart Army Base in January of this year that calls would soon be running in the order of 50,000 to 80,000 men a month, but that “the possibilities do not exceed what we did in Korea.” The most recent call, for August 1966, is for 32,600 men, more than twice the number called for June.

A year ago the Defense Department estimated that the armed services would need 600,000 new recruits a year. About 100,000 would be drafted, while about half a million would voluntarily enlist. Today, the services need 900,000 new recruits a year with 330,000 expected to be drafted by the end of 1966.

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
Military Draft