Harry S. Truman photo

Memorandum Establishing a National Manpower Mobilization Policy.

January 17, 1951

To the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies:

There is hereby promulgated, effective immediately, the attached National Manpower Mobilization Policy which I have approved on the recommendation of the National Security Council, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor and the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization.

This policy shall be adhered to by all departments and agencies with respect to programs under their control, subject to such amendments and supplements as may from time to time be issued by the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization pursuant to authorities vested in him.



Aims of manpower mobilization

1. The primary aim of manpower mobilization is to safeguard our national security through the maximum development and use of our human resources. In particular, this involves:

a. Providing manpower for the Armed Forces in sufficient numbers and with the mental, physical, and occupational qualifications necessary for national defense.

b. Providing manpower for producing the materials and services necessary to the Armed Forces, to meet commitments of aid to other nations and to support the civilian economy.

c. Constantly increasing our mobilization potential through training and educational programs to expand our supply of persons with highly developed skills essential to civilian and military activities. Providing manpower for protection of the civilian health and welfare.

2. The most efficient use of the Nation's manpower will be of vital importance in any prolonged effort to keep the strength of the United States at a high level and will be of the utmost importance in the event of full mobilization. Consequently, it is important that manpower measures taken now be consistent with and contribute to the most advantageous use of our manpower should full mobilization become necessary.

3. We must rely heavily on science and technology. The most effective use must be made of our supply of individuals having the special skills required to develop and produce the necessary equipment and to use and maintain it in the Armed Forces. Malutilization of such individuals represents a direct and unnecessary reduction of our defense potential.

4. While recognizing the very high priority of the Armed Forces' requirements for certain numbers and classes of manpower, the needs of mobilization also require a vigorous civilian economy. The manpower necessary to defense production, to civil defense, to agriculture, and to the production of essential civilian goods and services and to sustain our commitments of aid to other nations, must be considered as integral parts of a balanced mobilization program.

5. To assure the most effective use of our manpower to meet these needs, it is essential that we establish principles and adopt a series of policies which will lead to the most effective use of our manpower resources. Wherever statutory authorization is necessary to put these into effect, it will be sought from the Congress

Principles of manpower mobilization

6. In achieving these objectives, the national manpower mobilization program will be based upon the following principles:

a. Each individual will be expected to serve in the capacity in which he can contribute most to the total mobilization program.

b. Employers, both private and governmental, will assure full utilization of those abilities and skills of each individual which will contribute most to the total mobilization program through such measures as minimum manning, training, and assignment of duties in accordance with needs, skills, and potentialities.

c. The Government will develop and administer manpower programs designed to enlist to the fullest possible extent the support and resourcefulness of individuals in the achievement of the mobilization program.

Basic manpower mobilization policies

7. The following basic manpower mobilization policies are necessary to give effect to the principles stated above, but do not prejudice or limit extension of manpower policies as further needs of mobilization evolve.

a. The size of the Armed Forces will be determined by the President. He will be provided with the Department of Defense requirements to meet strategic plans; with full information on the prospective supplies of manpower, and on the manpower requirements for defense production, agriculture, civil defense, and other essential purposes.

b. The greatest care must be exercised to assure that the supply of persons possessing critical skills will be distributed among military and civilian activities in a manner which will contribute most to the mobilization program. When the total need for workers with critical skills for civilian and military assignments is expected to exceed the supply that can be made available, the requirements for persons with such skills will be reviewed and distribution of the supply will be measured by the relative urgency of the need for critical skills as between the Armed Forces and the civilian economy.

c. Policies in respect to recruitment of individuals from civilian life and call-up of members of the unorganized reserves will have as their objective the use of persons possessing irreplaceable skills where they can make their maximum contribution to the total mobilization program.

d. Policies governing occupational deferment of persons subject to induction under the Selective Service Act will provide for: (1) the occupational deferment of persons possessing critical skills if they are currently using such skills in essential activities, except to the extent the military services require persons with those skills; (2) deferment of a sufficient number of individuals in educational and training institutions to provide an adequate continuing supply of professional and highly skilled manpower.

e. Recruitment, placement, distribution, training, and utilization of the civilian labor force (including Government employees) will be based primarily upon voluntary measures for manpower mobilization. This policy will be carried out through such measures as: (1) providing appropriate employment information to guide workers to jobs in which they can make their maximum contribution; (2) developing recruitment and rehabilitation activities needed to expand the labor force; (3) training persons to meet civilian manpower requirements and providing appropriate placement services; (4) providing assistance to employers in promoting maximum utilization of the labor force including women, physically handicapped, older workers, and minority groups; (5) providing adequate housing and community services; and (6) assisting workers to arrange for their transfer to essential jobs in other areas.

f. Governmental manpower controls will be used when and to the extent needed to assure successful execution of the mobilization program. Such controls will apply to employers, to workers, or to both. They will include (1) restricting indiscriminate labor turnover through control of separations (2) giving effect to manpower allocations by placing employment ceilings on employers with respect to the total number of workers, the number of men or the number in particular skills; (3) controlling of employer hiring, and (4) enforcing adherence to utilization standards, including full use of women, handicapped workers, and minority groups.

g. All manpower programs will be geared to the needs and problems of specific geographical areas.

h. As mutually desirable to the United States and friendly nations, workers will be brought into the U.S. for, or their services utilized within the borders of their own country on, work of value to the mobilization program. Full use of domestic manpower resources will be made before bringing in foreign workers.

i. Production will be scheduled, materials allocated, and procurement distributed with careful consideration of available manpower. Whenever feasible from an economic and security standpoint, production facilities, contracts, and significant subcontracts will be located at the sources of labor supply in preference to moving the labor supply.

j. The full understanding and assistance of labor organizations, employer associations, professional societies, civic and community groups, and State and local governments will be sought in carrying out these functions.

k. Each department will, itself, implement the policy and be responsible for its supervision.

Harry S Truman, Memorandum Establishing a National Manpower Mobilization Policy. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230333

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