National Security Council Draft Report

Following is the text of the National Security Council's advice to Selective Service director Hershey:

1. Background: In accordance with the section 4-G of the Military Selective Service Act of 1967, the National Security Council has for some time been considering the advice it should render to the director of the Selective Service System with respect to occupational and graduate student deferments, after giving specific consideration to the needs of both the armed forces and the civilian segments of the population.

For this purpose, the Council also sought the judgment of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Commerce.

2. The Issues Considered: Will the manpower needs of the armed forces and the civilian population best be served by retaining, modifying, or suspending the list of "currently essential activities" and "list of "currently critical occupations"?

Is it essential to the national health, safety and interest to provide student deferments in fields of graduate study other than the medical, dental, and allied medical services?

3. Conclusions: A. Occupational Deferments: The National Security Council advises that: deferments based on the list of essential activities and critical occupations should be suspended. The Secretary of Defense, Labor, and Commerce, should maintain a continuing surveillance over the nation's manpower needs and identify any particular occupation or skill that may warrant qualifying for deferment on a uniform national basis. When any such occupation or skill is so identified, the Council will be notified so that it may consider the need and advise the director of the Selective Service System accordingly.

This recommendation is based on these considerations:

* the needs of the armed forces do not now require such occupational deferments;

* the needs of the civilian economy do not require such occupational deferments;

* the inherent inequity, at a time when men are called upon to risk their lives for the nation, of any such occupational deferments from military service which may in practice turn into permanent exemptions;

* the lack of justification for such deferments lists as evidenced by the fact that more than half the occupational deferments actually granted are to men in occupations not on the "list of currently essential activities" and "list of currently critical occupations."

B. Graduate Students: The National Security Council advises that: it is not essential for the maintenance of the national health, safety and interest, to extend student deferments for graduate studies to fields other than medicine, dentistry, and the allied medical services, where deferments are now required by selective service regulations.

The Secretaries of Defense, Labor, Commerce, and Health, Education and Welfare will maintain a continuing surveillance over the nation's manpower and educational needs to identify any area of graduate study that may warrant qualifying for deferment in the national interest. When any such field is so identified, the council will be notified so that it may consider the need and advise the director of Selective Service System accordingly.

This recommendation does not affect existing regulations governing deferments for graduate students who entered their second or subsequent years of graduate study in the fall of 1967. It does affect those students graduating from college this year and also those who entered their first year of graduate school last fall, since the regulation provides that the latter group were to be deferred for one academic year only.

This recommendation is based on the following considerations:

* such graduate deferments are not now required in the national interest;

* the unfairness that would result from exempting men in some fields of graduate study and not in others, as well as the accompanying distortion that would result from the tendency to select draft-deferred fields of study;

* the inequities that result from graduate deferments because many of those deferments can be pyramided into exemptions from military service. This is unfair--particularly in times of armed conflict--to all the young men who do not have the opportunity or the finances to attend graduate school;

* the absence of a significant military manpower need served by graduate school deferments, in contrast both to (1) undergraduate deferments, which produce a substantial supply of military officers and (2) graduate school deferments for doctors, and allied medical specialists, many of whom later serve as medical officers in the armed forces under the doctor draft law.

4. Transmission of Advice: The National Security Council directs its executive secretary to transmit this memorandum of advice to the director of the Selective Service System, with the concurrence of each of the undersigned. February 15, 1968.--Secretary of State, Dean Rusk; Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara; Director of the Office of Emergency Planning, Daniel Price; Secretary of the Treasury, Henry H. Fowler; Director of the U.S. Information Agency, Leonard Marks.