228. National Security Study Memorandum 1651

  • TO
    • The Secretary of Defense
    • The Director of Selective Service
    • The Director, Office of Management and Budget
    • The Director, Office of Emergency Preparedness
    • Standby Draft

The President has directed the preparation of a study of the standby draft. The purpose of the study is to investigate potential manpower mobilization needs in future crises and alternative ways of fulfilling those requirements.

The study should consider requirements for non-volunteer military manpower in (1) a national emergency requiring large scale manpower mobilization, and (2) a more limited mobilization requiring significant increases in projected military manpower strengths but not total mobilization. The demand for non-volunteer manpower should be investigated under the assumptions that needs are met primarily through (a) call-up of Reserves and the National Guard, and (b) through conscription and draft motivated enlistments. Insofar as possible, specific requirements for non-volunteer manpower in terms of both quantity and timing should be developed which take into account the capacity of the training establishment to effectively train the arriving personnel.

Based on these mobilization schedules, the study should consider the alternative standby draft arrangements capable of fulfilling these requirements in terms of (a) changes required to the Selective Service System as it now exists, (b) implementing legislation needed (if any), and (c) cost. The study should also consider organizational and legal factors that influence system capabilities under each alternative arrangement.

The study should assume that:

The President will not request extension of draft induction authority beyond July 1973.
The Regular and Reserve forces will be maintained at about current levels and meet manpower requirements by voluntary means.

The study should be prepared by an NSC Ad Hoc Group comprising representatives of the addressees of this memorandum and the NSC staff, chaired by the representative of the Secretary of Defense. The study should be submitted for the President’s consideration by December 20, 1972.2

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–194, NSSM 165. Confidential.
  2. Laird sent the interagency response to NSSM 165 to Kissinger on December 22 under a covering memorandum. The 28–page study, endorsed by Laird, Tarr, and Lincoln, reached the following recommendation: “The Selective Service should be structured at reduced strength to register and process personnel including giving pre-induction physical and mental examinations. This option requires neither changes in the Selective Service Act, nor additional legislation.” Weinberger dissented, believing “that a more rapid induction procedure can be developed which would shorten delivery time under a more austere Selective Service System to meet or reduce the induction time of the recommended option.” (Ibid.)