Senator Mark O. Hatfield


Domestic Policy

Foreign Policy


Abortion  |  Balanced Budget  |  Gold  |  Energy  |  Environment  |  Libertarianism

Military Conscription  |  Military Spending  |  Narcotics  |  Neighborhood Governments

Social Security  |  Tax Code  |  UCMJ  |  Special Speeches


Domestic Policy:
Military Conscription

March 5, 1974

Congressional Record - Senate: Pages 3,788 - 3,793


Mr. HATFIELD. Mr. President, today I submitted a statement to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on HUD, Space, and Veterans in opposition to the Selective Service System budget request of $47,163,000 for fiscal year 1975. Again this year we are dealing with a bureaucracy that continues to bleed the Federal Treasury to the tune of $47 million-plus a year for no constructive purpose that I can see. According to the testimony of Selective Service Director Byron Pepitone, 90 percent of the fiscal year 1975 budget request is for payroll. This makes the Selective Service System an excellent example of a Federal agency that exists primarily to shuffle paper.

I would also like to mention one alarming statement by Mr. Pepitone in his testimony this morning, under questioning by the subcommittee chairman, Senator PROXMIRE. One reason for the slight decrease in this year’s request relative to that of fiscal year 1974 is a reduction in force of Selective Service System personnel. However, the request for 1975 does not include severance pay for these employees, of which there are approximately 1,200. Therefore, Mr. Pepitone admitted that he knows now that he will have to come up for a supplemental before the end of fiscal year 1975 to meet these severance costs.

The fiscal year 1975 budget request, therefore, is deceptive - we have already been told that it will not be enough. Such action is at the very least an abuse of the supplemental appropriations procedure, and should be disturbing news to any Member of this body concerned with orderly budget and appropriation procedures.

This sort of bureaucratic behavior should not be tolerated in any agency. I have great respect for Mr. Pepitone and his staff, and he has provided me with prompt and courteous answers to my questions about his operation. But I believe the Selective Service System has outlived its useful purpose, and should be abolished.

I ask unanimous consent that my statement to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on HUD, Space, and Veterans and a letter and report from Selective Service Director Pepitone on the costs of terminating the Selective Service System be printed in the RECORD.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:


Mr. Chairman, last year the Selective Service System came before this Subcommittee to request $55,000,000 for the examination, registration, and classification of young men subject to the military draft. The Subcommittee found that amount to be excessive in light of the termination of inductions, the success of the all-volunteer Army and the ever-present need to eliminate waste in the Federal Budget, and reported an appropriation of $35,000,000 which was subsequently approved by the full Senate. Conference committee action, however, raised the final appropriation to $47,500,000.

Despite that 36% increase over what the Senate deemed necessary of its operations, the Selective Service System has found it impossible to live within its budget. Indeed, it is spending, or would like to, at a clip nearly equal to its original request for FY74 of $55,000,000. In addition to the $47.5 million appropriated for FY74, the Selective Service System is now requesting a total of $6.26 million in supplementals: $4,250,000 to cover mandated military and civilian pay increases and $2,010,000 for service to registrants and general and administrative costs. That brings the total amount appropriated and requested for FY74 to $53,760,000, only $1,300,000 short of the original FY74 request.

In my testimony before this Subcommittee last year, I remarked that the Selective Service System is a fine example of a bureaucracy that continues to exist and expend the tax payers’ money more by virtue of its own momentum than for any constructive purpose Judging from this year’s record of expenditures, and the FY75 request for $47,163,000, I would say that statement is just as true today. I urge this Subcommittee to substantially reduce the Selective Service Systems budget request for FY75, for several reasons.

Throughout FY 74 and on into FY 75, the Selective Service System has been and will be co-locating local boards as the demands on the system decrease. It is my understanding that this process of co-location may reduce the number of operational sites for local draft boards to 700 in Fiscal Year 1975. Approximately 1.9 million men will be registered at these sites in FY 75.

Due to increases in its own operational costs, the Army has discontinued examinations for registrations. The Selective Service System will therefore no longer need to expend public funds for busing registrants to examination centers.

When inductions ceased in December 1972, so did assignments of conscientious objectors to alternate service occupations. Therefore, by the end of December 1974, all but a handful of the approximately 4000 conscientious objectors presently under the supervision of the Selective service System will have completed their obligation, thus eliminating another Selective Service function.

With these economies, I do not believe the appropriation request of $47,163,000 cannot be justified. Since the Senate found $35,000,000 sufficient for operations last year, an appropriation substantially below that amount should be all that is required for Fiscal Year 1975 activities.

Beyond these fiscal arguments, however, is the more fundamental question of whether the Selective Service System should be allowed to continue at all. Just in terms of practical manpower considerations, I do not believe that the standby draft gives any degree of manpower readiness which could not be matched in the event of an emergency. Historically, and understandably, the National Guard and the Reserves have been our second line of defense after the active duty forces. They have been the immediate source of additional combat and support personnel in any wartime situation when men were quickly needed. The draft by its very nature cannot rapidly supply the manpower necessary for a large-scale war. This is because a draftee under the present system would have to be examined, classified inducted, transported to a training area, and trained before he would become combat ready. The training process alone requires five to six months for basic infantry jobs and up to 18 months for more sophisticated roles.

Under the present realities of technological warfare, the only contingency in which we would need large numbers of men, and thus the possibility of a full-scale draft, would be if another Vietnam or series of Vietnam-like wars occurred. And assuming that the nation were to be supportive of such a policy, a draft created at the time of the conflict would more than adequately meet our manpower needs. Wars of this nature grow slowly; we do not suddenly need thousands of men more one day than we did the previous day.

More importantly, the very presence of the Selective Service System poses a threat to individual liberty and to the separation of powers between the Congress and the President.

In essence, military conscription is a form of involuntary servitude, which we have rationalized by maintaining it would enhance our freedoms at home and enable us to create freedom abroad. But we cannot try to defend freedom at home or abroad by taking it away from our own citizens. And so long as the mechanism for imposing this form of involuntary servitude exists, even though it may have apparently been “deranged” by the termination of the induction authority, we pose a great threat to individual freedom in our society.

Likewise, so long as a standby draft and its manpower pool exist, there is a great temptation for the President to ease us into wars which the Congress has not declared, the War Powers Act notwithstanding. This was true of the Vietnam War, as the existence of the draft too easily allowed us to slip into a war without the fullest consideration of the implications.

Finally, the continuation of the standby draft maintained by the Selective Service System belies and undermines our expressed Commitment to the volunteer Army. Secretary of the Army Callaway has recently released a report which concludes that the Army is "good, combat-ready, and improving with the passage of time." Why then do we need to continue registering nearly 2 million men a year at a cost of $47 million? By doing so, aren’t we implying that the volunteer Army won’t work, or that we don’t want it to?

I therefore believe that the Selective Service System should be terminated. At my request, Director Pepitone has estimated that termination costs for the first half of FY75 would be $41,487,000. That is a substantial amount of money, but it is far less than the total dribbled out over years if we continue to fund indefinitely this bureaucratic dinosaur which lacks any economic or military justification for its existence.

I realize there are members of this Subcommittee and the Senate who oppose “legislation through appropriation.” Nevertheless, I urge you to consider appropriating $41,437,000 for the sole purpose of terminating the Selective Service System. Barring such action, I trust that the Subcommittee will substantially reduce the appropriation request of $47,163,000 for FY75.

Washington, D.C., March 4, 1974.

U.S. Senate.

DEAR SENATOR HATFIELD: This is in response to your letter of February 21 wherein you asked for my estimate of the funds which would be required to terminate the operation of the Selective Service System. It also will serve to confirm my conversation of February 2 with Mr. Keith Kennedy of your office, also in response to your letter of February 21.

As I suggested to Mr. Kennedy in the telephone conversation of Friday, February 22, I have not devoted a great deal of time to estimating the cost of terminating the Selective Service System, inasmuch as the provisions of the Military Selective Service Act, which I am charged with administering, require that the System continue to operate. As a matter of fact, the provisions of the Military Selective Service Act require that the System not only continue to operate during zero draft but also continue to operate with the same organizational configuration that made up the System on the date of the passage of the Act - September 28, 1971. For this reason, and as a result of the requirements to prepare for the fiscal year 1975 budget hearings and the defense of the budget request, my time has been devoted primarily to identifying what the costs for operation in fiscal year 1975 would be, as opposed to what it would cost to terminate the System in 1975.

Notwithstanding these facts, and in an effort to be responsive to your request, I have devoted as much time as possible between the receipt of your letter on February 22 and this date to assemble what I believe to be a reasonably thorough estimate of the costs of terminating the System, assuming that action would be taken by the Congress to repeal the Military Selective Service Act prior to July 1, 1974.

For the purposes of the estimate, I have assumed that effective at the beginning of fiscal year 1975 - July 1, 1974 - all mission activities would cease and termination activities would commence. The logistical effort for a complete shutdown of our nationwide offices and transfer of permanent records, disposition of equipment and separation of employees in accordance with Civil Service Commission regulations is conservatively estimated at six months. Obviously, after closing, there would be a number of residual actions which I assume would be handled by other Federal agencies:

1. Liquidation of unpaid obligations, payroll record processing and payment of severance pay could be accomplished by the Department of the Treasury.

2. Final processing of personnel actions could be accomplished by the Civil Service Commission.

3. Final transfer and disposition of remaining equipment and disconnect services could be accomplished by the General Services Administration.

Based in the foregoing assumption, there is attached an estimate of what I consider to be reasonable costs to terminate the activity completely, commencing July 1, 1974, and providing to the Archivist of the United States those permanent records of the System which, by law, are permanent records and must be preserved, and observing the requirements of the law with respect to the termination of both civilian and military personnel as well as the requirements imposed, also by law, with respect to the disposition of Federally owned equipment now possessed by the System.




Personnel compensation, $13,704,000.
Civilian salaries, $9,180,000.
Military salaries, $1,024,000.
Accrued Annual Leave (civilian only), $3,500,000.

Based on the following employment levels:

July:  3,300 Civilian, 128 Military
August: 2,500 Civilian, 128 Military
September: 1,250 Civilian, 128 Military
October:  1,250 Civilian, 128 Military
November:   1,250 Civilian, 0 Military
December: 1,250 Civilian, 0 Military

Personnel benefits: Retirement, life and health insurance, FICA, etc., $827,000.

Benefits to former employees: Severance Pay (statistical CSC formula based on average age and average length of services), $21,300,000.

Travel and transportation of persons: Transportation, expenses, per diem and car rental for direct closing work for property control and records transfer, supervision, employee counseling, etc., $581,000.

Transportation of things: Records disposal and destruction, equipment transfer, etc., at National Headquarters, State Headquarters, Service Centers and local board sites, $750,000.

Rent, communications and utilities: Space rental, telephone, postage, equipment rental and miscellaneous, $4,125,000.

Printing and Reproduction: Directives and policy guidance related to termination activities and. employee separation, $25,000.

Other services: Health services, guard services, maintainance and other miscellaneous contractual services, $75,000.

Supplies and materials: ADP, office, packing and other miscellaneous supplies, $100,000.

Total estimated cost, $41,487,000.

Sitemap  |  PDF Scans of Congressional Record


Site design by Craig Jessen