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Statement Announcing Appointment of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force

March 27, 1969

TO ACHIEVE the goal of an all volunteer force we will require the best efforts of our military establishment and the best advice we can obtain from eminent citizens and experts in many related fields of national endeavor. For this purpose, I have today appointed an advisory Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force under the chairmanship of the Honorable Thomas S. Gates, Jr., former Secretary of Defense.

I have directed the Commission to develop a comprehensive plan for eliminating conscription and moving toward an all-volunteer armed force. The Commission will study a broad range of possibilities for increasing the supply of volunteers for service, including increased pay, benefits, recruitment incentives, and other practicable measures to make military careers more attractive to young men. It will consider possible changes in selection standards and in utilization policies which may assist in eliminating the need for inductions. It will study the estimated costs and savings resulting from an all volunteer force, as well as the broader social and economic implications of this program.

The transition to an all-volunteer armed force must, of course, be handled cautiously and responsibly so that our national security is fully maintained. The Commission will determine what standby machinery for the draft will be required in the event of a national emergency and will give serious consideration to our requirements for an adequate reserve forces program.

I have instructed the Department of Defense and other agencies of the executive branch to support this study and provide needed information and assistance as a matter of high priority.

The Commission will submit its report to me in early November 1969.

Note: Press Secretary Ronald L. Ziegler announced that William Meckling, dean of the College of Business Administration of the University of Rochester, New York, would serve as Executive Director of the Commission. A list of the members of the Commission is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P. 482).

Richard Nixon, Statement Announcing Appointment of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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