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Congress. Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower, and Poverty of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. Manpower Implications of Selective Service. Washington, D.C. GPO, 1967.

SuDoc No.: Y4.L11/2:Se4
Date(s) of Hearings: March 20, 21, 22, 23, April 4, 5, 6, 1967
Congress and Session: 90th - 1st


March 22, 1967

Burke Marshall, Chairman, National Advisory Commission on Selective Service, accompanied by: Bradley Patterson, Staff Director, National Advisory Commission on Selective Service

Senator Kennedy of New York. The third question which relates to that, what has been the result of this policy up to the present time as far as the typical individual, typical young man who is called in the draft? Is he a cross-section of the country or is he from an upper or lower economic group?

There have been various reports there has been a higher percentage of Negroes and those in lower economic groups than in the higher groups. Could you speak to that?

Mr. Marshall. Senator, the statistics are that in proportion to their population, there are more Negroes that are drafted from the eligible group than whites. The statistics also are when you look at the services and the units that bear the brunt of the combat in Vietnam that the proportion of Negroes in those units and those services are far above the population proportion.

That is also true of the statistics on the casualties. I think that the figures are that in the last year 22 or somewhat over 22 percent of the men killed in Vietnam are Negroes.

Now, there are other reasons for that but I think that it starts, I think it starts with the fact that this whole system of deferments hits Negroes worse and harder than it does other people.

Now, I say that about Negroes because we have statistics for them. I do not think those statistics are the result of discrimination in the sense that Board members pick Negroes over whites. I think they are the result of the poverty, of educational lacks and that kind of thing, the fact that those incidents of our society are more characteristic of the Negroes in our society than any other group.


Senator Kennedy of New York. Going back to the discussion we were having, you talked about the effect that the deferment policy is having on students and also the effect of the fact that a larger percentage of Negroes have been called and a larger percentage of Negroes have served in Vietnam.

Has the fact that this has been true, and a larger percentage of Negroes also have been wounded and killed as to their percentage of the population as a whole, has this had an effect in your judgment on the attitude of not only the Negroes but those of the lower economic groups in this country about the war?

Mr. Marshall. Senator, I guess I would have to say that I don't really know. My impression is that it has had.

I would add this; that it seems to me to be awful important, when this country is engaged in the kind of war that we are engaged in now, that it falls equal on all segments of the society; not only from the point of view of how the people don't have a chance to avoid the draft, but also that it can be real and understood by the young men and their parents and families who do have this kind of opportunity; so that I think that the equal participation, the equal share in the risk in this kind of a situation is important for the Nation as a whole and not just to avoid disaffection of the poor or Negroes of the society but for the political process in the country as a whole.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Have you found that there is a feeling that the system at the present time is inequitable, unfair?

Mr. Marshall. Senator, I would just have to say that I don't have any statistics and I don't have any surveys and I just don't know. I could only give you my personal judgment; and my personal judgment is that many, very many of the people who are affected in the way that you are talking about now think it is unfair.

April 4, 1967

Morris Bunch, Freddie Finch, William M. Stokes, accompanied by Vernon E. Hawkings (a panel)

Senator Kennedy of New York. What you are suggesting is that there are those who grew up under extremely demanding circumstances and might have had a brush with the law, who are deeply patriotic, who want to serve with the Armed Forces of our country, and who, having received some additional training and counseling, find their skills and upgraded to the point where they can serve in the Armed Forces. And that when they do, they have demonstrated themselves to be extremely effective fighting men and patriotic young people.

Mr. Hawkings. I think I follow the same line of thought that you have expressed here.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Do you know whether, from your experience in working with some of the rejectees, any of those who have demonstrated in civil rights and arrested have been rejected on this ground?

Mr. Hawkings. Depending on the type of arrest. A young man can get arrested for being disorderly and get a disorderly charge. It depends on how the interviewer or the recruiter looks at this particular arrest.

If a man is demonstrating for something and he gets arrested, I know in this particular area, the disorderly charge itself would have some bearing on the way in which it was looked at.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Say a southern sheriff were to arrest a civil rights worker for disorderly conduct, and he had a record. Would that not, under the present definition, be enough to exclude him?

Mr. Hawkings. It would, from my understanding of it, under the 1-Y regulations.

April 4, 1967

A College Papers Panel Consisting of Don Morrison, Editor in Chief, Daily Pennsylvanian; Chuck Sable, Editorial Writer, Harvard Crimson; Tom Myles, Staff Writer, Howard Hilltop; Carolyn Carter, Editor in Chief, Howard Hilltop, accompanied by Anthony Gittens

Senator Kennedy of New York. Could you comment generally as to the opinions among the editorial staff at the Howard Hilltop?

Miss Carter. Yes. I think you mentioned already that we have a compulsory ROTC system at Howard, and that we have taken an editorial stand against that, and just as it is the compulsory feature of the ROTC program we object to, it is the compulsory nature of military service that is the objection in the opinion of our staff.

We favor the creation of a volunteer career armed forces, or military system.

You know, since I feel sort of uncomfortable in the position of being a lady editor speaking about the draft, I asked the feature editor of the paper to come along. He is on my left. I think he has more feeling of some of the problems of the people who are here in the Hilltop. He is the only one eligible for the draft now, and so I asked him to come along, but generally I feel that it is the compulsory nature of the system and also the fact that the black man gets the worst of it that we object to.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Excuse me?

Miss Carter. The black man gets the worst of the system.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Who do you think would get the worst of it if we had a volunteer army?

Miss Carter. I think it would be impossible to assess.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Let us think it through together. Would it be those on the lower rungs of the employment ladder?

Miss Carter. I think it is possibly so, but I think the fact that they want to be there makes the difference.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Pardon?

Miss Carter. I think the difference is in the volunteer feature. I think the black man gets the worst of it when you are being forced. I think that is different from the situation --

Senator Kennedy of New York. You would not mind if we had a black army as long as they were being paid?

Miss Carter. I object to people being forced into military service. I think the objection to the system is the primary thing. If people want to go into the Armed Forces, I think the panel who was just here proves there are a number of people who feel their educational opportunities are in the service, and with some additional training they might have greater vocational opportunities after they leave.

I think it would be preferable for those who want to serve to be able to serve and continue their education. Those who are not --

Senator Kennedy of New York. Do you believe that one of the principal reasons that people go in the Army is because there are limited opportunities for them outside of the services?

Miss Carter. Yes, I believe so.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Today, wouldn't that be primarily the Negro?

Miss Carter. Right.

Senator Kennedy of New York. So, it seems to me, from the limited study I have made, that a voluntary army will be a black army, made up of those who are in the low economic scale of our society. The question, I think, which is presented to all Americans is whether we want to have a mercenary army fighting the battles for our country. Are we going to take Johnny Jones, whose opportunities are very limited, because of educational deficiencies no fault of his own, or of health deficiencies no fault of his own? He sees as his only opportunity to get out of this, is to enter the Army. He is the fellow sent over to South Vietnam, while other boys, gifted financially or intellectually, are not.

Miss Carter. I have attempted to think it is a pleasant choice, but I think it is really the lesser of two evils.

Senator Kennedy of New York. I am sure you can comment on this.

Mr. Gittens. I think that that is just about the case now, where you have our poor individuals going into the Army. You have examples this afternoon, people who were up here. If you notice, they were all Negroes; they went in because they wanted a better opportunity.

It is my feeling that instead of these boys, these men seeking financial security and just going around in their life -- they should seek at home, these black ones should not be drafted, but instead be left in their community, raise their families and all.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Of course, the statistics available show that more than 75 percent of South Carolina Negroes are not accepted. The Negroes have a higher rate of rejection than the whites, while actually the percent inducted, even in the Armed Forces, is comparable, roughly, to those that are inducted of whites, on a proportionate basis.

Granted that the number of opportunities available for officer candidates are less, the enlistment rate is higher for Negroes. And the battle casualties are higher. But just with regards to inductions, the reports that I have seen do not convince me that we are taking a higher proportion really. There are other elements working against the NEgro, as, for example, service on the draft boards, but with regards to just taking them, it is not disproportionate.

Mr. Gittens. I still think that the draft should be even lower, the standards for the draft into the Army still does not solve th problem. I think the problem is a domestic one and I think if these people are left in the country and more effort was made by the Federal Government, State government for that matter, to improve their education, economic situation, that that is much better all the way around than to draft these people and put them in the Army.

I think they are very fortunate they have not been drafted.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Were you not trying to suggest that the prime or principal way for the Negro to get a break today is through the Army?

Mr. Gittens. Well, that might be a truism, but I still think it's wrong.

Senator Kennedy of New York. That's probably the reason for your reservations about having a volunteer army, as well.

The question that concerns me is the suggestion that those who would be taken in or attracted to a volunteer army would be those in the lower rung of the economic scale, and that is going to be primarily Negroes.

Are we going to say this is going to be the principal opportunity that is going to be available to them, or are we going to try to open up other employment and educational opportunities, a whole host of different opportunities by providing greater educational chances, scholarships, kinds of training for them so they can find better opportunities in the economy?

It seems to me you are saying that the volunteer army is going to foster what has been described as the last chance for the Negroes of this country.

Mr. Gittens. As Senator Hatfield pointed out in his Senate bill, I think it's 1275, when he talks about a volunteer army, I think he presents a good argument. The fantastic turnover, virtually when he is trained it is time for him to leave, well, he will leave.

Now, you have people going in there and they will be receiving this training and he also mentions that in order to make it a bit more attractive --

Senator Kennedy of New York. They will get killed, too.

Mr. Gittens. Well, Negroes are getting killed in Vietnam now, in order to make more attractive the rights.

Also, another aspect of this volunteer army, like any other job, a person can't take a position, then if he feel -- to be more specific, if a black man is recruited into the Army and he is there for a certain number of years and he feels that a certain issue does not interest him, that he does not want to lay his life on the line for that issue, now he can quit like any other job.

Now, he can come back with this training, with the money that he has gained from this Army and put all of this back into society.

Senator Kennedy of New York. How many can quit over in Vietnam?

Mr. Gittens. No one can quit now as far as that goes.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Under a volunteer army you will be able to quit?

Mr. Gittens. Right.

Senator Kennedy of New York. If we had a volunteer army, and suddenly we had a hot war and we found a lot of people quitting -- what would that do for us as a country?

Mr. Gittens. Now the country, I do believe in the democratic process and I do believe in the rule of the majority. It seems to me if the majority does not feel that an issue is vital enough for them to lay their lives down on the line, that is up to them.

If they would rather have the enemy come over here and take over and rule them, then I think that is a decision they have to make and it is not the right of the Government to make that decision for them.

Senator Kennedy of New York. I wonder if you would express yourself with regards to deferments, whether your own personal feelings is that we should continue the student deferments.

Mr. Gittens. You mentioned something at the beginning, I am not familiar with the work that you have done before. But it appears to me that the college student on the average is more intelligent because the income of his family and himself in general is higher than the standard.

If you just draft the people, defer the students and just draft the people on the block, I am speaking more of Negroes, that if you defer your students and you draft the people on the block, that you have this intellectual leak, and I don't think that is fair or justifiable in any way.

Senator Kennedy of New York. So you have reservations about student deferments?

Mr. Gittens. Yes, I have. But I think with the Negro it is specifically more generalized, it is a special situation.

Now, the Negro, because of oppression in this country, is on the lower level economically and educationally, and I think specifically Negroes particularly should -- they should not lose their student deferment, not at all. I am not quite sure, but I think something like 8,700 of the casualties in Vietnam have been Negroe.

Senator Kennedy of New York. What percent?

Mr. Gittens. Well, 8,500, 8,700. That's not percentage, that is the number.

Senator Kennedy of New York. I see.

Mr. Gittens. Howard University has an enrollment of, I think, 8,512. If those people were wiped out, it would have a very distinct effect on the Negro community. I think if you draft your Negro students, that you will be in a way -- you will be destroying these freedoms and these liberties that you are trying to maintain, because by pulling this intellectual force out, this intellectual economic force out leaves the Negro in a worse situation than he was before the war, before these people were drafted and I don't think it is fair at all.

Senator Kennedy of New York. You are not suggesting a special deferment for Negroes?

Mr. Gittens. I think they have earned this -- well, that is not the correct word, but I think because of the oppression that they face in this country, they do deserve that at least. So here a little bit was given to them, a little hope was given to them and now the war has taken that away.

Senator Kennedy of New York. What about Puerto Ricans?

Mr. Gittens. Well, they are just as oppressed as we are, any oppressed people I don't believe should be drafted.

Senator Kennedy of New York. What about poor whites?

Mr. Gittens. As we stated before, we don't believe in the draft for anyone.

Senator Kennedy of New York. We are talking about deferments now, special deferments. Negroes, Puerto Ricans, what about poor whites?

Mr. Gittens. Anyone on the lower economic level, anyone who will benefit, whose community will benefit, whose race will benefit by them staying in college rather than being drafted into the Armed Forces, I would think that these people should be deferred automatically, automatically the Government owes that to them.


Senator Kennedy of New York. I understand there is another gentleman here who is attending Howard University; is that correct?

Mr. Myles. That is correct.

Senator Kennedy of New York. You are a veteran, as I understand it. Would you give us your name?

Mr. Myles. The name is Tom Myles.

I was taking note of your comment that you did not feel that a professional volunteer army would necessarily benefit deprived people.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Would you tell us something about yourself?

Mr. Myles. My name is Tom Myles and I am a junior at Howard University, majoring in government, political science. I am a feature writer for the Hilltop newspaper and photographer.

Senator Kennedy of New York. How old are you?

Mr. Myles. I am 30, and a veteran of the Navy.

Senator Kennedy of New York. How long were you in the Navy?

Mr. Myles. I spent 3 years there.

Senator Kennedy of New York. And then you came back to continue on in college?

Mr. Myles. Well, not in that sequence. After the Navy I worked for the Federal Aviation Agency for 5 years and then I returned to Howard.

As I was about to say: I was taking notes of your comment that a professional volunteer army would not necessarily improve the conditions of our oppressed, undereducated and ghetto black people; and I also noticed what Mr. Sable said here; and that is that a professional army would tend to recruit or accept those people with high level of qualifications and skills necessary to manage the increased technological state of the army and I thing this is in accord with Senator Hatfield's bill. He takes that position.

Even as the panel before us, as you say from the panel before us, even if poorly educated black people did want to volunteer for a professional army, the requirements of the professional army would still dictate that a large number of them be rejected, so I don't think that we would have an all-black, mercenary-type army if it was made a volunteer profession.

Further, I think there is something slightly immoral about requiring, especially in the draft system, it might be different if people wanted to volunteer and could qualify, but there is something immoral about requiring a black person from the ghetto that has suffered all he has suffered in the American system to go and law down his life.

I think it is a poor way to educate and train people technically; I think it is immoral to rely on the military where a man risks his life for a country, to give a man an education. I think the place to start for it is in the society rather than rely on the military.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Are you for having a special exemption for Negroes?

Mr. Myles. I would say yes. Especially for those Negroes who are not in college, because the fact they are not in college might very well indicate they have not had the opportunity or the chance to acquire the skills and abilities necessary for a better life.

Senator Kennedy of New York. I want to try and at least see if I understand the previous position. You wanted the exemption for Negroes who were in college because this was the Negro elite and they were the ones who should not get shot up over in Vietnam.

Mr. Myles. I don't think the two positions are mutually exclusive. I would say, first of all, that all black people deserve a special consideration --

Senator Kennedy of New York. What about Puerto Ricans?

Mr. Myles. I would say if they have suffered the same as the Negroes have, they should be given special considerations, too. Generally, my position is that those people who benefit most from the society should be the people most readily to lay down their lives for the society.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Are those going to be just whites?

Mr. Myles. I wouldn't say just whites. I think I would go along with the position, I don't remember which one -- people in the Ozarks have also been deprived, through what reason, from the full fruits of the American system. Full fruits should be given them depending on their local situation.

Senator Kennedy of New York. So the Ozarks will get excluded?

Mr. Myles. If the Ozarks had conditions similar to Harlem and Watts.

Senator Kennedy of New York. What does it hinge upon? You are going to exclude Negroes; you are going to exclude Puerto Ricans; you are going to exclude Indians; you are going to exclude poor whites. Are you going to exclude Mexicans or Spanish-speaking people?

Mr. Myles. I agree that is a large majority to exclude.

Senator Kennedy of New York. What about the oppression of the Jews? Should they be excluded because they are oppressed in certain parts of the country?

Mr. Myles. Generally speaking, I don't generally have the impression that Jewish people are deprived.

Senator Kennedy of New York. In some parts of the country they are not permitted in clubs, they are restricted in corporations. What should be the rule about them?

Mr. Myles. Generally speaking on a par, one would be able to say, where the Jews have suffered greatly under the hand of the Nazis; Jews have not suffered greatly under the hands of the Americans. They have full access to schools, financial institutions of the country such as we could not really classify and lump the Jews with Puerto Ricans, Negroes, and American Indians.

I realize there is a great deal of anti-Semitism that still exists in the country and indeed in much of the world. And I sympathize with Jews, of course, as I sympathize with all oppressed people.

Back to your question about the large majority -- this large category of people being excluded. I don't know just what the system could be, but I think any further draft system --

Senator Kennedy of New York. Before you go on, just following through the logic of your argument, I think the only people who would really volunteer for the Army would be rich whites because they would be the ones who have benefitted under your definition of our society. I am wondering whether, in fact, you are going to get rich whites to volunteers.

Mr. Myles. I believe, as Mr. Sable pointed out, that you would also get a large number of people volunteering for the Army, who, for economic reasons wanted to improve their situation, those people perhaps not the brightest in the Nation, perhaps not the most competent but not the least educated, not the least oppressed either. So -- and there are people who would want to join the Army for adventuristic reasons, for the esprit de corps and for a variety of other reasons.

And I think this was also pointed out in Senator Hatfield's bill, that there is a sufficient pool of manpower such that perhaps our country should not have to rely on drafting people. I think he suggested enough men could be acquired through a voluntary system for staffing the Army.

Senator Kennedy of New York. I would be interested in all your reactions to this. The Defense Department, in considering the volunteer army, estimated the cost at from $4 to $17 billion, depending on a number of variables.

Professor Oi, who is an economist at the University of Washington, and the principal economist relied upon advocates of the voluntary army, estimates the cost to be $7 to $9 billion.

This is a yearly cost. Now, would you rather have that $7 to $9 billion a year devoted toward education, rehabilitating slums, providing open spaces, job retraining programs, expanded health opportunities? Or would you rather have the $7 billion, the bare minimum estimated by those who support the legislation, devoted to the volunteer army?

Mr. Gittens. One question. What are the figures --

Senator Kennedy of New York. $17 billion is the Defense Department per year estimate of the cost.

Mr. Gittens. Now, with the present system --

Senator Kennedy of New York. This is an increase over the present costs.

Mr. Gittens. $17 billion.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Prof. Walter Oi says that the minimum would be $7 billion.

So you have a wide range. But that is what it is going to cost us, in addition, for a volunteer army.

Now, I would be interested in whether you feel that utilizing those funds to meet the problems of poverty, in a comprehensive way, would be more meaningful to your interests, or would utilizing them for a volunteer army?

Mr. Gittens. Well, let me ask you this question, if I may.

Senator Kennedy of New York. That's all right. We left the formality a long time ago.

Mr. Gittens. Would you rather a Negro, say, in Mississippi be drafted -- I think it was a Negro from North Carolina, South Carolina -- I don't remember where -- who has to quit school when he was 10 years old so he could work in the field. Because of his lack of education he was drafted. Would you rather he be sent to Vietnam and killed or would you rather worry about the $17 billion?

Senator Kennedy of New York. I would rather provide the Negro with an opportunity for education and apprenticeship training, and upgrading his way of life, as I would the --

Mr. Gittens. The draft has been going on for quite a while and Negroes are still struggling to get out from under this. So somewhere along the line somebody has failed.

Senator Kennedy of New York. There is no question that we are examining this morning your feelings about the draft system, and that is why I asked those questions to you, who gave us a very articulate explanation of your feelings with regard to a volunteer army.

I recognize this is going to be a costly affair. No one has suggested it would not be. If you had the $7 or $9 billion it is going to cost, would you rather see the funds devoted to health and education, improving the housing conditions, attacking the problems of poverty, or would you rather have the volunteer army.

Mr. Gittens. I am not trying to skirt the question, but I think the choice really is not a fair one.

I think when you consider that a nuclear submarine costs in the billions of dollars, if you just do not build a few submarines we will have enough to fund the Army. So you see, the choices that you give me really are not fair.

What I am stating, I am concerned about life. I am concerned about black people who have been oppressed in this country.

Senator Kennedy of New York. You are not suggesting that we save the $7 billion on tanks and airplanes so that we do not then have the equipment?

Mr. Gittens. We are saying because of the volunteer professional army, we are going to need $17 million more to fund it, and you said -- billion dollars to fund this -- so I am saying I think this $17 billion is very easy to come by in this country.

We are the richest country in the world. It is very easy to come by. I don't think that is any major problem.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Do you care to make a comment?

Mr. Myles. I had thought that one of the main arguments of the bill for a bigger volunteer army was that it costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,000 just to train one recruit; a the end of a 2-year period this man would be leaving the military again and that at this rate our country was spending some $30 million, I think the figure was, just in the inefficiency included through turnover --

Senator Kennedy of New York. I want you to include the salaries you are going to have to pay. You are going to have to raise the salaries, of course, in order to attract these people. You cannot use the present salary scale.

Mr. Myles. I see. To answer your question directly, then I think if we had a choice between spending more money for a voluntary army and solving the social problems and ills that we have here at home, I think our country would be far better off if we addressed ourselves to the more salient problems here rather than spending billions more for some nebulously defined interest in southeast Asia or maybe other parts of the world.

Senator Kennedy of New York. That is a different question, isn't it? I am not asking you whether you think the commitment in southeast Asia is worse than the additional money we would spend in a year. That is another question. I think I know what your answer would be on that.

But the question is given the volunteer army proposal which you have suggested here and the fact that it is going to cost $7 billion. Would you rather have that $7 billion be directed toward the problems of social ills in this country?

Mr. Myles. If I had to make such a rigid choice between the two, I would place the emphasis, first, on people, whether or not people are going to be killed in a situation, whether or not the lives of people are going to be improved by so spending the $17 billion in a way as an alternative to the professional Army.

Miss Carter. May I respond to that?

Senator Kennedy of New York. Yes.

Miss Carter. I wanted to say if we ever came down to a choice of either figuring out a fair way of defending the country and solving educational and economic problems in the Negro community, we have sunk pretty low and I don't know where we are going to get our volunteers from if we have to make that kind of a choice.


Senator Kennedy of New York. Chuck, do you have a brief word?

Mr. Sable. Since you have segregated us very cleverly, I will follow up and take one shot at the Negro exemption.

One problem I see with it is that in the one case I know of a class, of a group that automatically gets exempted from war, which is the Pennsylvania Dutch. There may be a legitimate case to be made for saying the Negro should be exempted now or for 5 years or whatever, but as happened to the Pennsylvania Dutch, they acquired the political means to extend it and extend it with the result being that Pennsylvania Dutch just about automatically receive conscientious objector status. They are not examined, so whatever arguments you could have about the Negro exemption at the outset, you could certainly argue that in the long run it would be a dangerous thing.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Tom, would you like to say anything more?

Mr. Myles. No.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Would you like to say a final word?

Mr. Gittens. I would summarize our position, that theoretically the people in the society who enjoy the benefit of the society should be willing to fight for it.

Well, the Negro has not been enjoying the benefit of the society and therefore should not be asked to participate in the military.

Miss Carter. We got so far off on deferments I just wanted to remind people of what our original position was, and that was that we did not believe in the draft for anyone because we don't feel that compulsory military service is an appropriate obligation of citizenship.

I thought this might need some clarification.

Senator Kennedy of New York. I want to thank all of you very much for coming down here this morning. I appreciate the comments you have made and the candor with which you have spoken. It has been very helpful, I think, and it will be to the members of this committee and also to the Senate.

I think you have stated your positions with forcefulness, clarity, and passion, and I want to express my appreciation to all of you and thank you on behalf of the committee.

April 6, 1967

Friedman, Milton, professor of economics, University of Chicago

Senator Kennedy of New York. Statistics are clear that the greater number of volunteers for the Army have been the Negroes.

Mr. Friedman. Right now, because we underpay so much. They are the only ones for whom the Army could be attractive on those terms. If we were to make service in the Armed Forces more attractive, you would find that people who do not now think about entering would change their minds, and people would be attracted to it who are not now.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Following a strictly congressional point of view, and once again you can help me along on this, if we follow it strictly from an economic point of view, those in the lower ranges of the economic ladder, are going to be more attracted to those more desirable conditions and more desirable pay. Would they not be?

Mr. Friedman. The problem, Senator, is that we must look not only at what kind of people are attracted, but also at the demand of the military forces for certain skills, and the desirable thing in a volunteer army would be --

Senator Kennedy of New York. Let us talk about the rifleman, the infantryman, rather than the technicians, because these are the ones who bear the principal burden, certainly, of our obligations today.

As I understand it, if we were to look at the incomes today, we would have to realize that among Negroes, their incomes are considerably lower than comparable whites.

Mr. Friedman. That is right.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Therefore, the attraction of going into the Armed Forces for the Negro would be a good deal more than it would be for the white.

Mr. Friedman. Certainly.

Senator Kennedy of New York. Assuming we are able to develop various educational programs to provide minimum education for Negroes in this country through, first, the desegregation of schools; and second, providing additional kinds of training for Negroes, it would appear to me that they would reach that minimum standard by which they could be, in our definition, useful to the Armed Forces of our country.

From the studies of the Marshall Commission, it appears there are not more Negroes in the service because more are rejected. It is interesting, also that the Negroes who are in the Armed Forces today have by far the highest reenlistment rate.

Mr. Friedman. That is right.

Senator Kennedy of New York. So I am asking you, Professor, if you would not agree with me that the principal reason Negroes today are not to a great extent in the armed services is because of educational deficiencies. If these were remedied, we would have a much higher percentage of Negroes in the Armed Forces than we do now. I am asking you why it would not be just as true if we had a volunteer army, if we had additional economic incentives to attract the lower economic groups into the Armed Forces, why we would not have a black army.

Mr. Friedman. We would not have a black army, that is clear --

Senator Kennedy of New York. Well, with the exception of the officers.

Mr. Friedman. No. The population figures are such that even if all likely eligible Negroes were to enter the Armed Forces, you would be far from a black army.

But let me go back to the main point. In the first place, improving deficiencies would improve the civilian opportunities of disadvantaged Negroes as well as the military opportunities.

However, the most important and basic points are different. If a young Negro would prefer a career in the armed services to other opportunities in the civilian world, whom are we helping by denying him that? We are hurting him, we are not helping him.

If this is a better opportunity, if in his view he can do better for himself by being in the Army than by being in other activities, voluntarily chosen, if we say to him, "No, young man, we are not going to let you go into the Army," we are hurting him. We are not helping him.

Consequently, if our aim is equal treatment for all citizens, which means that we let people choose among the opportunities open to them in accordance with their own values, then we must give the Negro the same opportunity as everyone to serve in the Armed Forces.

Senator Kennedy of New York. I do not know whether I would use the word "treatment" as much as I would use the word "risk," because that is obviously what is entailed today in South Vietnam.

I think in a peacetime situation, some of the points you have mentioned here this morning have a great deal of validity.

The problem I have is trying to relate this to the current situation in Vietnam, and we are really talking about that.

Mr. Friedman. Yes. In the current situation, we want, by all means, to make available every young man, the information, so that he can choose with his eyes open. We do not want to deceive him, but if we tell people what the situation is, and if under those circumstances young men choose to volunteer -- if those young men happen to be Negroes, fine. That means that military service is the best opportunity that is available to them, and we are only hurting them if we say "No, you must not serve, because we insist on having a certain proportion of whites in the Armed Forces."

Senator Kennedy of New York. That would be one statement that I have reservations about, saying that the ones who would be attracted would be Negro, and that would be fine, if this was the opportunity open in our society.

I think what we face is a more fundamental problem: the obligation of our defense if a national responsibility, and we cannot put that responsibility on a particular group, as it would obviously be a class obligation. I do not see how we could do that.

Mr. Friedman. Senator Kennedy, it seems to me it is no class obligation. If we try to provide opportunities which are equal for all, the actual outcome is not going to be equal. I do not know what the situation is with city police forces, but it seems to me that there is no one who would argue there is somehow an inequity in the fact that the city police forces contain relatively few Ph. D.'s.

Senator Kennedy of New York. And Irish, too.

Mr. Friedman. Quite right. Perhaps we have a class police force.

If we say to people "You must not serve because you are black, or because you are white," we are then imposing a class responsibility.

However, if we need a certain number of men for the armed services, and get them by making the armed services sufficiently attractive so that the requisite number choose voluntarily to serve, then it seems to me we are providing equal opportunities to all, and not class opportunities.

[From the Washington Post, Sunday, Oct. 16, 1966]

Middle Class Is Bearing Brunt of the Draft, the Uneducated Poor Are Weeded Out and the Wealthy Are Able to Hide in the "Catacombs" of College

(By Richard Harwood)

It is a political axiom in the United States that the draft is unfair.

Actor George Hamilton, secure in a draft exempt status, courts the President's daughter in the night clubs of Hollywood and New York. At the same time, poor Negro boys -- in Adam Clayton Powell's words -- are "packed off to Vietnam to be killed."

"Your status in society in my district," says Rep. Alvin O'Konski (R-Wis.), "is now determined by what your draft status is. If you are 1-A, you are a nobody, you are one of those who happened to get caught because you didn't know any better. If you are not 1-A, you have status in society... That systems nauseates me... This is a poor man's war."

It appears that way to an increasing number of Americans, as the public opinion polls indicate. But like so many pieces of conventional wisdom, the "poor man's war" theory is not supported by all the facts.


The least likely candidate for the military services today is the slum child of Harlem or Watts. The rejection rate among Negro conscripts is the highest of any group in society -- about 75 per cent.

The lowest rejection rate is among the well-scrubbed boys of the middle class who go off to college with high hopes and a freshman beanie but fail to stay the course. Fully 60 per cent of the college dropouts are claimed by the military services.

This is not to say that wealth and brains are unrelated to exemption from the draft. Pentagon studies show that boys with the financial and intellectual resources to get an uninterrupted college education -- and perhaps a graduate degree or two -- enjoy a distinct advantage. Only 40 per cent of the college graduates enter service, as against 50 per cent of the high school dropouts and 57 per cent of the high school graduates who don't go on to college.

The longer the scholar hides away in "the endless catacombs of formal education," as Yale President Kingman Brewster has put it, the less likely that he will have to hide in a foxhole in Vietnam.


Nevertheless, it remains true that the main source of manpower for the military services is the economic and educational middle class and not the poor. Two-thirds of the soldiers, sailors and airmen taken by the Pentagon each year have had the benefit of either a high school education or some exposure to a college classroom.

This is partly a result of the haphazard and inconsistent workings of a Selective Service system that has given actor Hamilton and economic "hardship" deferment (as the sole support of his mother, although he earns more than the President of the United States. But it is even more a result of policies made by the military establishment.

The generals and admirals are confronted with a huge manpower surplus. For every man they need, more than ten are theoretically available. And this surplus is constantly expanding because of postwar birth rates that are producing nearly two million 18-year-olds each year.

The military establishment is thus able to pick and choose very carefully, with the result that fewer than half of the draft age men are ever called on to serve. The prospect is that by 1974, only one in three will be called.


Rep. Powell, in attacking the inequities of the present system, has spoken of the Pentagon's need for "cannon fodder." But &qout;cannon fodder" is the least of the military's needs.

Only 14 per cent of three million men under arms are trained for ground combat duties. The other 86 per cent are noncombatant clerks, mechanics, technicians and men skilled in various trades and services.

To fill these spots, the military establishment, as it informed Congress last summer, wants "Highly trained and trainable men capable of manning and operating ... increasingly complex weapons systems." It also wants well-behaved young men who will not "adversely (affect) the image of American troops, particularly in overseas areas."

A high school graduate who is physically fit and who scores at least 16 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test is taken into the service. A high school dropout who scores almost twice as high is rejected unless he can pass additional tests. The reason is simply that the Pentagon doesn't want high school dropouts.


Since poverty and poor education go hand in hand, the effect of these standards is to bar disproportionate numbers of the poor from military service. White Southerners and Negroes are primarily affected. The rejection rate in the District of Columbia in 1965 was 62.6 per cent; in Georgia, 63.1 per cent; in South Carolina, 61.6 per cent; in Alabama, 59.8 per cent, and in Mississippi, 59 per cent.

In the Midwest, on the other hand, the rejection rates ranged from 24 per cent in Iowa to about 36 per cent in Kansas, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

One of the ironies of this situation is that the very people who find it most difficult to enter the military services are often the most anxious to serve. The South produces 40 per cent more volunteers proportionately than the Nation as a whole and the highest reenlistment rates are among Negro servicemen, who find that a military career offers more opportunities than civilian society for equality and the good life.

Along with its vast vocational training program, the military establishment offers superior fringe benefits under hot and cold war GI Bills, veterans' preference laws, pensions and the like. But under the present policies, those most in need of such training are the least likely to get it.

About 250,000 potential draftees are rejected each year solely for failing to pass the Pentagon's written tests. And when those with the least skills are accepted, they are far more likely to be assigned to the relatively unskilled combat functions.

Negroes, for example, represent 11 per cent of the population and 11 per cent of the armed forces. But they fill 20 per cent of the combat jobs and account for 22 per cent of the casualties in Vietnam.

College graduates, oddly enough, have somewhat the same experience. Most of them enter the officer corps and roughly 50 per cent are assigned to combat units.

It can be argued that a rough kind of balance emerges in the end, with each educational class sharing in different ways the burdens of war and defense. The middle class supplies the bulk of the manpower. The poorly and highly educated supply a disproportionate number of the fighting men and bear a disproportionate share of the risks.

But that argument is obviously unsatisfactory.


President Johnson has appointed a national committee under the chairmanship of Burke Marshall to review the workings of the draft, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara recently ordered the services to take in 40,000 undereducated youths each year for job training.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has attracted wide support for his proposal for selection by lottery, under which every 1-A would have an equal chance to be drafted whether he was a Yale freshman or a Harlem dropout. Others have proposed on all-professional army, national deferment standards for local draft boards and even universal training for all men.

But there is no expectation in the Government that the system will undergo any radical change. The cost of an all-professional defense establishment is considered prohibitive by the Pentagon -- an extra $5 billion to $16.6 billion a year -- and the generals do not want an aging career service. Universal training is unpalatable to Congress and probably to the country.

Finally, whether and however the system is changed will have little effect on the basic problem. So long as the manpower surplus continues, some boys will serve and some will stay home. No one has devised a simple way to determine fairly who shall do which.

[From the New Republic, Nov. 5, 1966]

Who Gets In The Army?

(By Daniel P. Moynihan)


The poverty program was an effort to find ways to do something about the situation of Negro Americans under a more inclusive heading, which would permit the support or acquiescence of Southern congressmen and political leaders. (That there were millions of whites who would also benefit from the program was simply an added argument.)

The Selective Service Study has made it clear enough that perhaps the largest single area of de facto job discrimination (lacking a better word) faced by Negroes is -- the armed forces. Negroes were simply not getting in because of the testing standards. In the Third Army Area, roughly the Old Confederacy, 67.7 percent of Negroes failed the mental test alone. Obviously volunteers ran into the same difficulty. Representing 12 percent of the population. Negroes made up eight percent of the armed forces. The power of these ratios is hardly to be overestimated. If, in 1964, Negroes had had their proportion of the service and the number of their males unemployed was correspondingly reduced, and had the reverse process occurred for whites, the unemployment rate for non-white males in the relevant age group would have been lower than that for whites. The argument for increasing the Negro representation in the armed forces was immensely persuasive. For one thing there was a clear interest among Negroes in such careers, as compared to what they perceive as their other options (Negroes in the army have a fantastic reenlistment rate, 49 percent; one army sergeant in six is Negro). The next step in the logic of the task force report would have been to systematically increase the Negro's share of military employment. That this has not happened is one of the ironies, and in a small way one of the tragedies of the politics of the past two years.


The Defense Department was at first decidedly reluctant to have anyone messing around with the service -- their disposition, thanks be to God, is not to do good. However, the revelation of what the lower third of American youths were like, had an extraordinary impact. It was not unlike the impact of the discoveries of English made about themselves after conscription was introduced during World War I. In 1964, Secretary McNamara proposed that he be allowed to induct a limited number of persons who failed to meet the mental standards, and see if they could not be brought up to standards. There was a solid precedent for thinking this could be done, based on experience with 303,000 such persons inducted after manpower grew short in World War II. (Department of Labor demonstration projects have since added to this evidence.) The proposal, however, got nowhere in the armed services committees; explanations were not offered, but it is fair to suppose that the concern for impoverished Negroes behind the proposal was plain to the Southerners who control the committees and that the advantages of military service to Negroes were known. (Look what came of letting James Meredith into the air force.)

Civil rights groups were never much interested in the subject anyway, but as war mounted in Asia, they became, if anything, suspicious. There is, of course, a deep pacifist element in the civil rights movement which would not wish to be associated with violence on any terms. More ominously, the political left which had associated itself with the movement now began to present its due bills: To be against the war in Vietnam became yet another test of true allegiance to the cause of the Negro.

Negroes are concentrated in the combat infantry type unit that is naturally the subject of much TV coverage from the battle zones. At the end of last year, the latest count available, Negroes made up 15 percent of army personnel in Vietnam and accounted for 18 percent of army casualties (22 percent of enlisted casualties). But altogether, Negroes make up only 12.5 percent of the forces in Vietnam -- about their proportion of the age groups involved, and only 9.5 percent of the over-all strength of the armed forces.

History may record that the single most important psychological event in race relations in the 1960's was the appearance of Negro fighting men on the TV screens of the nation. Acquiring a reputation for military valor is one of the oldest known routes to social equality -- from the Catholic Irish in the Mexican war to the Japanese-American Purple Heart Division of World War II. Moreover, as employment pure and simple, the armed forces have much to offer men with limited current options of, say, Southern Negroes. By rights, Negroes are entitled to a larger share of employment in the armed forces and might well be demanding one. Yet when Secretary McNamara went to Montreal to announce that he was going to enlist rejectees anyway, Adam Clayton Powell cried, "racist," which is hardly what happened.


When Congress enacted a peace-time GI Bill retroactive to 1965 -- a massive transfer of public support away from the poorest segment of the population to a relatively well-off one -- liberal spokesmen were silent. There ought to have been such a bill, but its passage ought also to have given rise to widespread insistence that if this is going to be done for non-poor whites and Negroes, then the poverty program appropriations ought at the same time to be increased--

If there is to be any change it is likely to come from the National Advisory Commission on Selective Service, established by the President in July under the direction of Burke Marshall. One may hope this time we take a longer look at the rejection figure. There are now new statistics reporting the experience of the 18-year-olds who began to be tested in July 1964, which certainly confirm the findings in One-Third of a Nation, and suggest matters may indeed be worse. The task force estimated that a "true" mental rejection rate -- i.e., if all members of the age group were called up and examined at the same time -- would be 16.3 percent, and that stiffer standards then being imposed might raise it as high as 20 percent. Now, however, it appears that the rejection rate for the 383,000 18-year-olds examined during the period July 1964 - December 1965, was 25.3 percent. These young men were only a fifth of the age group involved, but may have been representative than was thought. It may be that the task force was wrong in deflating the 1962 rejection ratings. The "true" rates may be as high or even higher. In the 18-year-old group, 19 percent of whites and 68 percent of Negroes failed the mental test. These are exactly the rates which the task force found for 22- to 23-year-olds in the Third Army Area in 1962. The current 18-year-old rejection rates in the South are horrendous: For Negroes 86 percent in South Carolina, 85 percent in Mississippi, 71 percent in Tennessee, 79 percent in Georgia. But they are not so much better elsewhere: 54 percent in New York, 56 percent in Illinois, 49 percent in California. White rates are no more reassuring: 44 percent in Tennessee, 38 percent in Kentucky, 28 percent in Hawaii. Clearly, the place to send children to public schools in the state of Washington or Minnesota (but not necessarily Negro children -- the mental rejection rate is 25 percent in the former and 37 percent in the latter.) One-quarter is the lowest Negro rate anywhere.

The Defense Department has not yet released any but the raw statistics and has not made clear how they are to be interpreted. But I would hold that a whole generation of poor Negroes and whites are missing their chance to get in touch with the American society. Once they pass through and beyond the Selective Service screen they are very near gone for good in terms of the opportunity to become genuinely functioning, self-sufficient individuals. Civil rights as an issue is fading. The poverty program is heading for dismemberment and decline. Expectations of what can be done in America are receding. Very possibly our best hope is seriously to use the armed forces as a socializing experience for the poor -- particularly the Southern poor -- unless somehow their environment begins turning out equal citizens.

[From the Trans-Action, March 1967]

American Democracy and Military Service

(By Morris Janowitz)

Current demands for changes in the Selective Service System are rooted in part in the strong public presumption that the draft operates with a definite bias against America's lower socio-economic groups. This claim has an important element of truth. But this image of social class bias is so oversimplified as to be an inadequate and even dangerous basis for public discussion of the draft.

The purpose of this article is to examine some of the social class and demographic factors involved in the impact of the Selective Service System and to propose an alternative system which I believe to be more compatible with the needs and goals of political democracy.


Since education in the United States is unequally distributed, in order to understand the social risks of the military service, it is necessary to analyze these issues in terms of socio-economic categories, particularly in terms of the interplay of social class and race. The interplay of these two factors has meant that in the recent past the Negro is under-represented in the armed services. This can be seen in two different ways.

Among men with less than eighth grade education, Negroes served to a lesser degree than whites. The same held true among those with nine to eleven grades of education. But among high school graduates Negroes and whites served in similar proportions.

Among men of low socio-economic background, the difference in military service between Negroes and whites with middle class socio-economic background declines.


The overall participation of Negroes has risen from 8.2 percent in 1962 to 9.0 percent in 1965 and is most likely to continue to rise. This rise is related both to the procurement rate of new Negro personnel and more pointedly to the reenlistment rates of Negroes. During the period 1962 through 1965, Negroes -- both volunteers and inductees -- were entering the armed services at about their proportion in the civilian society. Given the attractiveness of a military career to low income groups, this percentage still reflects the lack of educational preparation of Negroes. But the period 1962-1965 was one of an improvement in the quantity and quality of Negroes seeking admission to the armed services.

On the other hand, once there was an increase in selective service quotas in the latter part of 1965 because of South Vietnam, the procurement of Negroes by induction fell from 15.2 percent to 10.8 percent in December 1965. This shows that representative draft without college deferments would in the long run contribute to the elimination of any over-representation of Negro enlisted personnel, a point to be borne in mind for further discussion of this problem below.

However, more important in accounting for the representation of Negroes in the armed forces is the markedly higher reenlistment rate for Negro enlisted personnel. In 1965 the first term reenlistments of white personnel was 17.1 percent while for Negroes it was 45.1 percent. Given their educational backgrounds and previous levels of skills, Negroes have tended to concentrate in the combat arms of the Army where the opportunities are greatest for rapid advancement into non-commissioned officer positions. In some units, such as the Airborne the percentage of Negroes is near 40. Overall participation of Negroes in Vietnam for the last part of 1965 showed the Army had the highest proportion with 15.8 percent, the Air Force 8.3 percent, the Marines 8.9 percent, and the Navy 5.1 percent. From 1961 to 1965 Negro fatalities were 237 out of 1,620 or 14.6 percent.

The armed services are aware of the dangers of creating units in which Negroes are concentrated. It is, of course, basic to the operations of the armed services not to use racial quotas; on the contrary, they look with pride on the success of integrating the Negro into combat units, for success in combat units is the basis of military prestige. The armed services have a variety of personnel practices designed to distribute Negroes more equally throughout the services, but these are only slowly being implemented. Given the high rate of reenlistment among Negroes, it is not difficult to anticipate future trends.

Thus, in summary, it is clear that there have been distortions of the Selective Service System, mainly in the past, through the exclusion of low educational groups, especially Negroes, and contrariwise through exclusion of persons following post-college education. To some degree, exclusion at the lower levels will be modified as educational standards of the country rise and criteria for selection are altered. Efforts on the part of the armed services to deal with this question by having special remedial battalions have not received congressional support; but special civilian and military programs are certain to emerge in the years ahead not only because of the requirements of the military but because of broader social policy. Already the Secretary of Defense has lowered the entrance standards and thereby increased the input of low income groups into the armed forces. Between 40,000 and 100,000 "category four" men (percentiles 10-30 in mental tests) will be inducted because it is believed that the armed forces can efficiently train and utilize them. Alternatively, distortions due to post-college education seem to be growing as the emphasis on such education increases in the United States. In the current situation we are dealing not only with the facts of distortion but with the growing public conviction that educational deferments per se are morally undesirable.

Assessment of the past performance of the Selective Service System must encompass more than the social characteristics of those who entered military service. We must also look at its administrative effectiveness. The system has operated in the past with a considerable degree of effectiveness in meeting immediate and short term requirements.

The organization represents an effective balance between highly centralized policy decision-making and decentralized implementation. The Selective Service System has worked with an amazing absence of personal corruption. To select young men for military service is a painful task, and the use of local community personnel has reduced hostility to rules and regulations. Moreover, there is a general feeling that local boards have been fair in applying national directives to local situations. Decentralized operating procedure has reduced local friction, but it produced considerable variation in practice from state to state, and these differences have become a new source of criticism.

Selective service and its local boards operate with local quotas, not on the basis of a national manpower pool which would take wide discrepancies in population characteristics among communities into consideration. Moreover, there are wide variations in quotas on a month-to-month basis. Another problem is that the Selective Service System has emerged more and more as a procurement agency for the Department of Defense without adequately representing the interests of the registrants in the larger society. While local boards are civilian, all other officials from national headquarters to state directors tend to be military in rank or orientation.


(Senate Memorial No. 28 Introduced by Senators Anthony A. Lucero, Jerry Apodaca, Thomas R. Benavidez, Sterling F. Black, Tibo J. Chavez, Ozzie Davis, Edmundo R. Delgado, R. Leo Dow, Emmett C. Hart, Junio Lopez, and Alex G. Martinez)


Whereas the minority groups in the state of New Mexico have been economically and educationally deprived and few of the young men in these groups can afford to attend college; and

Whereas without a college deferment from the draft, these young men are inducted into the armed forces, or to avoid the draft, volunteer for other branches of the armed forces; and

Whereas New Mexico's largest minority group consists of Americans of Spanish descent and constitutes some twenty-nine percent of the population of the state; and

Whereas approximately sixty-nine percent of all inductees from New Mexico are of Spanish extraction; and

Whereas of fifty-eight New Mexicans killed in Vietnam during 1966, twenty-five were Americans of Spanish descent; Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Mexico, That the congress of the United States is requested to amend the draft laws to allow a more equitable selection from disadvantaged minority groups; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this memorial be sent to the speaker of the United States house of representatives, the president pro tempore of the United States senate and the New Mexico delegation to the United States Congress.

Signed and sealed at The Capitol, in the City of Santa Fe.

E. Lee Francis
President, New Mexico Senate.

Jaunita Pino,
Chief Clerk, New Mexico Senate.

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