I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Army
The President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force – the Gates Commission – and Selective Service Reform (1969-1970)
The President Has Decided…
Martin Anderson was given the job of preparing an issue paper for the President incorporating the views of the Gates Commission and DoD, the National Security Council, the Bureau of the Budget, and other interested administration parties.52 He had very little time to do it, especially since the paper needed to be a joint project, combining the results of the working group on draft reform, which Peter Flanigan chaired, and the results of the working group on the all-volunteer force, which Anderson chaired (Anderson, 1970m3.5 MB).53 While the original plan had “a decision memorandum . . . ready for the President by February 23, 1970 to anticipate a possible message [to Congress] in the third week of March 1970” (Anderson, 19700.6 MB), the issue was not taken up by the President until March 25, 1970, at a special meeting of the National Security Council.
In preparation for the March 25, 1970, meeting, Kissinger’s staff prepared a “red book” (with backup materials) for the President. It contained “a brief summary of the issues and alternatives prepared by Peter Flanigan and Martin Anderson, [and] Secretary Laird’s views on the all-volunteer army and draft reform,” e.g., Laird’s March 11, 1970 Memorandum (Kissinger, 1970b3.4 MB). At the meeting, Nixon made several critical decisions. He rejected the recommendation of the Gates Commission to end the draft June 30, 1971, noting that it “can’t be done,” and changed the target date for ending the draft to January 1973 (Kissinger, 1970b3.4 MB).54 After the March 25, 1970, meeting, Anderson prepared a decision memorandum on an all-volunteer force and draft reform that incorporated the results of the meeting and sent it to John Ehrlichman on March 31, 1970 (Anderson, 1970m3.5 MB).55 On April 9, 1969, Ken Cole reported to the White House senior staff the President’s decision.56 Figure 4.2 shows Cole’s memorandum reporting Nixon’s decision.
It fell to Kelley to tell Laird of the President’s decisions. His memorandum to Laird did not, however, stress the “provisos” which started Cole’s memorandum to the White House staff. Kelly summed it up by saying that
The President has decided as follows:
(Kelley, 1970e0.2 MB)
- He accepted the DoD plan for eliminating draft calls.
- He defers extension of induction authority, doctor draft and related matters until next year.
- He will go ahead now with an Executive Order to phase out occupational and paternity deferments.
- He will recommend to Congress legislation to institute a direct national call and authority to phase out student deferments.
The President’s message to Congress on the above will probably be next week.