American students will face the specter of the draft for a long time to come, Assistant Secretary of Defense John Hannah declared yesterday.
In a speech delivered to the Lowa Farm Bureau Convention, the Pentagon's manpower chief said, "The American people must accept a continuation of the draft as the only alternative to a weakened system of national security, and an alternative so dangerous it connt be accepted."
Hannah also ruled out Universal Military Training as the answer to the problem.
He attributed the grim manpower outlook to what he called the "Unhappy legacy" of a lowered birthrate during the depression years. "The cold truth of the matter," Hannah said, "is that we have been putting young men into uniform much faster than the males in our population turn 181/2 years of age."
Six Year Shortage
If induction volunteering and re-enlisting continue at the present rates the "bottom of the pool" may be reached within two or three years, but the serious shortage of manpower will last "for at least the next six years," he added.
"That is way the Selective Service Act will have to be continued in effect, much as everyone would like to dispense with the draft; that is why I believe we connot consider instituting a kind of universal military training, as was contemplated and hoped a few years ago; that is why every young man who is qualified mentally and physically must look forward to at least two years of military service for years to come."
Nothing that 60 percent of the Army strength is now made up of draftees, Hanna cited a crying need for "Professionals" around whom citizen forces can rally in a time of danger. He added that all the military services are losing experienced career men "in members so great as to be disturbing."
He blamed this on the "Continual nibbling" at fringe benefits to servicemen and the "Patronizing attitude, of civilians toward servicemen."