The decision of the United States administration to end selective conscription has produced considerable changes in the United States Army.
The decision of the United States administration to end selective conscription has produced considerable changes in the United States Army. One of the major effects has been a shortage of college-graduates to fill specialised jobs.
President Nixon announced the Administration's plans to end peacetime conscription last August, after a steady reduction of draftees since 1971. In that year, the number of American men called up for service was cut to a monthly average of 10,000. During the Vietnam war, the figure was as high as 49,000 in one month.
The Administration's aim of ending the draft by July this year was reached ahead of schedule last January. Since then, the United States Army Recruiting Command has had to double its size to seek out prospective recruits. It claims most of its volunteers are high-school leavers.
To enhance the service, the Army is issuing recruits with a written contract, which guarantees that they get the Army education and job they signed up for. If the Army fails to keep its side of the contract, the soldier can get an honourable discharge. The Army also offered substantial pay increases in October and January to boost the volunteer intake.