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poses." In passing the Act, Congress declared, among other things, that "... an adequate armed strength must be achieved and maintained to insure the security of the Nation. ... In a free society, the obligations and privileges of serving in the armed forces and the Reserve components thereof should be shared generally in accordance with a system of selection which is fair and just, and which is consistent with the maintenance of an effective national economy. ..."
Lt. General Lewis B. Hershey (then a Major General) was appointed Director of Selective Service on 17 July 1948. Approximately 30,000 men
were inducted in December and January of 1949.
UNIVERSAL MILITARY TRAINING AND SERVICE ACT. After a one-year extension, the Selective Service Act of 1948 was supplanted in 1951 by the Universal Military Training and Service Act, which was actually an amended 1948 Act. The 1951 amendments tended the Selective Service System indefinitely, but provided for the termination in 1955 of the authority to induct men, except those with extended liability. (This authority was later extended to July 1959.)
Selection of men to be inducted is only a small part of the functions of the Selective Service System. Regardless of the numbers being inducted, the System must maintain an up-todate inventory of the Nation's manpower resources by registration, and by classification
as to availability for service in the Armed Forces or deferment because of such reasons dependency, participation in reserve programs, or pursuits vital to the overall strength of the Nation. Those men exempt from military service must also be continuously identified and classified. Under the conditions of the "cold war,” the System inevitably acquired, in addition to the task of selecting men to maintain active duty strengths, the additional role of a positive force in influencing men, by deferment, into study, research, and other occupations which build the basic strength America needs in science, engineering,
education, and industry to attain security.
In 1955 the Selective Service System was assigned the function of maintaining up-to-date information on the availability of members of the Standby Reserve who are subject to recall to active duty in the event of war national emergency declared by Congress. Standby Reservists are placed in categories by local boards, on the basis of whether they are available for recall to duty, should remain in essential civilian jobs, or should be left at home because of dependents. The responsibility for selecting men for enlistment in the “critical skills" reserve was also assigned to the Selective Service System. This program allows men to discharge their military obligation to the nation, yet remain in essential civilian occupations or research with a minimum of interruption—three months of active duty for training. Thereafter the Critical Skills Reservist may be assigned by his service to the Standby Reserve for the remainder of his eightyear enlistment, providing that he continues to use his critical skill in defense work or research affecting defense.
Provisions of the present law are basically the same as those in effect under the 1940 Act. However, over the years of operation, changes have been made in the law and regulations for various reasons, including the need and availability of men for the armed forces and the evolving demands of the nation's economy. Basic principles remain unchanged from previous Selective Service laws of World War I and World War II.
Men are required to register at 18. At age 18 years and six months, men are liable for training and service, and remain liable up to the 26th birthday. However, if a registrant was deferred before reaching age 26 and on or after 19 June 1951, in most cases his liability is extended to age 35.
Men inducted under the present law have substantially the same reemployment rights as did those inducted in World War II. They do not now receive Korean GI Bill benefits. (See chapter 23.)
Major changes in the law, and special
undertaken by Selective Service in carrying out its functions, include provisions for the drafting of physicians, dentists, and allied specialists; and the establishment of the student testing program to aid local boards in considering deferments for students.
The Selective Service Act of 1948 was amended in September 1950 to provide special liability for “special registrants”—physicians, dentists, and allied specialists—to meet the need of the Armed Services. Originally, liability was placed on these special registrants up to the 51st birthday. Within the liable age groups, priorities of vulnerability for service were established depending previous service and whether or not the registrant had received Federal aid in study under Armed Services programs, or had been deferred from service for study. In 1955 the upper age of liability was reduced to the 46th birthday, and the "doctor draft” was extended to July 1957.
It was then replaced by amendments to the basic Universal Military Training and Service Act, as amended. Under the amendments, registrants qualified in these specialist fields are subject to induction under the same provisions of law and regulations that apply to all other registrants, except that provision is made that they may be inducted separately if requested by the Secretary of Defense, and will not be inducted to fill regular calls for nonspecialists. Like the former versions of the "doctor draft," the 1957 amendments are designed to insure that the Armed Services have adequate physicians, dentists, and allied specialists by inducing them, under the threat of induction as enlisted men, to apply for reserve commissions. As commissioned officers they are subject to involuntary call to active duty.
The Selective Service College Qualification Test program was initiated in 1951, after a two-year study by a committee of nationally known authorities, The scores made on the tests are used by local boards in considering requests for student deferments. Another criterion used by the boards is standing in class. Under the student deferment program the most promising students were
enabled to continue studies in college and graduate school during the Korean conflict and afterwards, thus insuring the nation a much greater number of specialized personnel today than otherwise might exist.
In addition to assigning responsibility to the Selective Service System for insuring selective recall of Standby Reservists, and for selecting men to be enlisted in the Critical Skills Reserve, the Armed Forces Reserve Act of 1955 projected a rounded Reserve program in which the System is directly concerned. Provisions were made for direct enlistment into the reserve and subsequent satisfactory performance which if completed fulfilled the military obligation. If military obligation is met in this way, there is no requirement that a man be inducted. But the local boards must keep track of reservists for the entire period of their obligation, because if they fail to continue to perform satisfactorily, they again become subject to induction.
Selective Service classes and subclasses are not exactly the same today as they were in 1948, nor were the conditions under which a registrant might be placed in any class always the same. And since February of 1956, Class I-A (the group available for induction) has been subdivided into six groups according to the order in which they will supply men to fill induction calls. These kinds of changes in law and regulations have generally been made in response to shrinking or growing manpower sources, the demands of civilian life, and the size and nature of the Armed Forces as dictated by world conditions.
The six groups within Class I-A, in the order in which they are called to fill inductions, areDelinquents over 19 in the order of
their birth, oldest first. Volunteers for induction under 26, in
sequence of volunteering. Nonfathers 19 to 26, in the order
of dates of birth, oldest first. Fathers 19 to 26, in the order of dates
of birth, oldest first. Registrants over 26, youngest first. Registrants 1812 to 19, oldest first.
The first two groups fail to meet quotas. Induction calls are being filled by selection from the third group,
which is by far the largest and includes two-thirds of all men in Class I-A. Men will be inducted from the last three groups in turn, if greater need for men in the services, or other
factors, exhaust the supply in the preceding groups.
The classes in 1958, and the number of men in each as of 1 January were
2,104,550 1,405,203 416,382
59,202 223,763 432,676
Total living registrants under the 1948 Act
available for non-combatant miiltary service only
Registrants under 19
national health, safety or interest
and activity in study)
of extreme hardship to dependents
maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest
Public Health Service
38,194 23,163 147,981
57,357 2.573,762 7,897,139
Through 1957, inductions under the Selective Service Act of 1948 and succeeding legislation were 2,408,993. Under the present Act, 4,976,756 men received preinduction examinations at Armed Forces Examining Stations to 31 December 1957, of whom 1,885,291 were found unacceptable. In the same period, 2,565,676 men were given physical inspection or "complete examination" at those stations on delivery for induction, of whom 156,766 were found unacceptable.
ORGANIZATION. The Selective Service System is composed of a National Headquarters, State Headquarters, local boards, and appeal boards. In addition there are numerous individual advisory posts and advisory groups.
There is a headquarters in each State, New York City, the District of Columbia, Alaska, the Canal Zone, Guam, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, a total of 56.
There are about 4,000 local boards, generally one in each county. Populous counties have more than one, while in sparsely settled areas, there may be intercounty boards.
The boards are composed of three
more members appointed by the President on recommendation of the governor. Members of the Armed Services, including reservists, are ineligible to serve. Boards are supplied quarters, sometimes rent-free public space, and are furnished with clerical help, in many cases part time. Local board members are uncompensated, as are appeal board members, advisors, and advisory groups of various kinds. One
appeal board exists in each judicial district of the United States, its territories and possessions. Where work loads warrant, additional panels with identical jurisdiction are created in appeal board areas. Rights of appeal from local board decisions are extended to the registrant, his employer or dependents, and the State and National Directors.
As in previous periods, the Selective Service System is a decentralized, "grass-roots” operation, based on local boards which consist of friends and neighbors of the men subject to induction. The boards apply provisions of law and regulations to each individual case.
Registrants Inducted, Sep 1948—Dec 1957 (United States and Territories)
Registrants Inducted by State or Territory
Sep 1948-Dec 1957
1948 (last 4 months) 20,348
30,129 1950 (first 8 months) 1,577
31,706 1950 (last 4 months) 218,188a 249,894 1951
438,500 1,240,167 1953
471,846 1,712,013 1954
253,241 1,965,254 1955
152,782 2,118,036 1956
152,452 2,270,488 1957
138,505 2,408,9930 a Reflecting the beginning of the Korean War. b Includes 83 special registrants.
Registrants Inducted by State or Territory
Sep 1948—Dec 1957 State or Territory
34,648 57,222 115,649 49,758 32,280 65,578
7,975 25,195 2,043 5,924 78,483 10,286 142,953 99.952 73,769 13,599 120,269 33,531 17.596 166,575 10,378 33,299 13,442 54,735 113,226 12,117
4,948 51,833 26.049 34,865 60,764 4,242 1.785 531
979 10,584 61,040 1,116
a Includes 83 special registrants.
PROCUREMENT OF OFFICERS Qualified commissioned officers are to insure that the individual meets all obtained for the Regular Army, in the requirements and that all necessary grade of second lieutenant, from gradu- papers are present. It is then considates of the U. S. Military Academy, ered by a branch selection board. Those from colleges and universities main- found best qualified to fill the existing taining Senior Division ROTC units, vacancies, with the exception of appliand Army Officers Candidate Schools. cants in the fields of medicine, law, and Commissions may also be obtained by religion, are then presented to the outstanding enlisted men and women Regular Army Appointment Review and by warrant officers of the Army Board for authority to appoint. Final with two years service; Reserve officers approval for selection and appointment serving on active duty; male civilians of medical service personnel is made possessing master's or doctor's degrees by The Surgeon General; of chaplains in certain critical technical specialties; by The Chief of Chaplains; and of individuals in the specialized fields of lawyers by The Judge Advocate Genmedicine, law, and religion; and women eral. Lists of persons finally approved commissioned in the Army Reserve who are submitted to the President for nomihave successfully completed the WAC nation. Upon his approval he forwards Officer Basic Course.
the names to the Senate for confirmaApplications for commission in the tion. After confirmation, announcement Regular Army are submitted through of appointments is made in Department channels to The Adjutant General, of the Army Special Orders, and each Headquarters, Department of the Army. individual is issued a letter of appointEach application is carefully examined ment through his Army commander. To
accept appointment, the individual must execute an oath of office and forward it to The Adjutant General, Headquarters, Department of the Army.
In fiscal year 1957, 1,678 officers were procured for the Regular Army. Percentages from various sources were as followsSource
% United States Military Academy
24.2 Distinguished graduates, Senior Divislon, ROTC
39.1 Officers on active duty
17.4 Technical specialists
0.2 Warrant officers or enlisted personnel 4.0 Medical services
0.5 Judge Advocate General's Corps
100.0 Procurement of Reserve commissioned officers for rvice in the Army Reserve is from the following sources: former officers of the Armed Forces of the United States; warrant officers and noncommissioned officers of the Army who are in the active military service; qualified Reserve enlisted members and warrant officers of the Army; civilians who possess technical and professional qualifications needed by the Army; graduates from the Senior Division of the ROTC; and graduates of Officer Candidate Schools. During Fiscal Year 1957, 18,614 appointments were made in the Reserve. Approximately 62% of appoint
ments come from the ROTC, 2% from Officer Candidate Schools, 2% from civilian specialists, and 34% from all other sources.
Applications for appointment as Reserve commissioned officers of the Army are submitted through command channels to the appropriate Army Commander. Each is checked to see that the applicant meets all eligibility requirements, and that necessary supporting documents are attached. In the case of civilian specialists and certain others, the Army Commander then appoints a board of officers which examines the applicant. Based on its recommendation he makes the final decision, except in certain cases where approval must be by The Adjutant General.
Currently there is no program for the appointment of Regular Army warrant officers.
Procurement of Reserve warrant officers for service in the Army Reserve is from the same sources as in the case of commissioned officers, with the exception of civilians having technical and professional qualifications who are ineligible for appointment unless they obtain military status. About 1,350 appointments are made per year. Appointment procedures are similar to those for Reserve commissioned officers.