227. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1

    • Standby Draft

There is a need for Presidential guidance to cover planning for the Selective Service System after July. The last guidance covering the Selective Service System (NSDM 53)2 came out in 1970 and deferred a decision on the standby draft. Nothing has been done since.

Current Status

Selective Service is planning on the assumption that the system will continue essentially unchanged after July. Potential draftees would be classified, examined, and a pool of 100,000 will be ready for induction within 30 days. A wide range of other alternatives are being suggested by other agencies but the government has no study which integrates these suggestions and considers strategic requirements such as likely future mobilization requirements or the capacity of the training establishment to accept personnel during mobilization.

There is clear need to coordinate planning for the future of the Selective Service System. I have, therefore, drafted a memo to interested agencies which directs a short study to consider:

  • —Future mobilization needs in terms of manpower requirements and the capacity of a mobilized training establishment to expand and accept new recruits.
  • —Alternative standby draft arrangements that would be capable of delivering required personnel on schedule. These will be evaluated in terms of their cost and other relevant factors.


That you authorize me to sign the enclosed memo (Tab A)3 setting out terms of reference for the study.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–194, NSSM 165. Confidential. Sent for action. The memorandum bears a stamped note that reads: “The President has seen.”
  2. Document 139.
  3. Document 228.
  4. The President initialed his approval. A typed postscript indicates that Flanigan and Cole concurred in recommending approval of Kissinger’s recommendation.