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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Improving Military Career Incentives.

April 10, 1956

[Released April 10, 1956. Dated April 9, 1956]

My dear Mr. :

The attached letter, addressed to me by the Secretary of Defense, reviews the serious nature of the personnel situation in the armed forces. It also outlines the major legislative proposals which the Administration has presented to the Congress as a means of improving military career incentives.

I urge that this legislation be enacted. Only when we have created a career military service which can compete with the attractive opportunities available in civilian pursuits will we be able to stop the wasteful losses from our armed forces and attract individuals to those services. We cannot move too soon in our efforts to increase the number and quality of volunteers for longterm career military service in both enlisted and officer ranks.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Richard M. Nixon, President of the Senate, and the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The legislative proposals outlined in Secretary Wilson's letter of March
23, 1956, relate specifically to--

1. Servicemen's and veterans' survivor benefits: Includes enactment of H. R. 7089 bringing military personnel into the Old Age and Survivors Insurance System.

2. Dependent medical care: Action by the Senate on the House bill assuring care for the 40 percent of dependents of military personnel not presently covered.

3. Regular officer augmentation: Raising statutory regular officers ceilings in the Army and Air Force, thereby stabilizing these forces and permitting the transfer of experienced reserve officers into the regular components.

4. Career incentives for medical and dental officers and nurses.

5. Substandard housing: Legislation providing for occupancy of inadequate public quarters at a reduced rental.

6. Preservation of retirement rights: Extension of authority to retire officers in currently held temporary grades rather than in their permanent grades.

The text of Secretary Wilson's letter is published in House Document 378 (84th Cong., 2d sess.).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Improving Military Career Incentives. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233088

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