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From the national educational radio network here is a Business Review ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ROSS Wilhelm of the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration presents his views in the commons of business and economic activity. It was an early 1065 on this radio program when I first proposed that we eliminate the draft and create a voluntary army. While I was very much alone in the mass media when I first made this proposal many people have taken up the cry since then although I really had very little to do with that success. The argument I use was a very old one first given during the Civil War but it seems that it was the right time and support for the idea has grown fantastically and you know recently President Nixon took steps toward preparing the way to eliminate the draft and bills to this effect have been introduced into the Congress. However the battle is not over yet and I should like to attempt to answer some of the current arguments against eliminating the draft. The basic means for eliminating the draft would be to raise the salaries of the military to where they are competitive with salaries in civilian life. The argument is economic in nature and it is that there is some wage or salary level at which
the military can obtain the manpower it requires on a voluntary basis. Now you should notice that this approach does not require repealing the draft law. The whole argument is that if salaries are high enough there will be no need for the draft. And obviously if a major war did wear occur which would require millions of men overnight then we would need the draft however the seemed most unlikely to occur on this base it's clear that all the arguments against the proposal are arguments against paying the military decent salaries. One of the current arguments against eliminating the draft is that we might end up with an all black army. As Army says the black this argument says that blacks are poor. The poor are attracted by high salaries and hence will have a large proportion of the blacks in the military. My initial reaction is So What. Blacks are excellent soldiers and just as patriotic as any other group so what is the problem. However I don't think the forecast is correct. There are far more poor whites in our nation than there are poor blacks so I expect the response from each group to be similar. And if it were we'd have far more whites than blacks. In addition I don't think the military is
discriminating today in who they admit and who they reject on a racial basis. Today the proportion of blacks in the military is not much margin of a portion of the total population. And those I fail to understand why higher salaries would change this. A second argument against ending the draft is the fear of a military coup by a professional army. This is nonsense. Our army is now run by professionals and has been for years and there has been no tendency toward the military entering politics. If this were going to happen it would have happened long ago. And further I don't see how anyone can argue that there would be greater dissatisfaction with our society if the military is paid decent salaries and if they're not paid such salaries. And third novel argument was put forth by Chairman Mendel rivers of the House Armed Services Committee recently representative Rivers argues a professional army would be more likely to give its allegiance to the president and the Defense Department than to Congress. He says I believe a reserve officer is more likely to talk to his congressman than a regular officer. Well perhaps you can Congressman Rivers is correct
in that the professionals professionals are less likely to talk about military affairs than they are reserve officers. However I believe that all the evidence indicates that Congress has always dealt with the professionals who run our military and I was a reserve officers certainly in terms of the important matters relating to the military the budget War and Peace Mobilization plans and so on. Congress has had and has had no trouble in learning what's going on. And further since Congress and specifically the House controls the purse strings it doesn't seem to me that it would be difficult for a skilled politician such as Mr. Rivers to let this client group know who is looking out after its interests. The simple fact is that if we paid the military decent salaries and we had a voluntary army there'd be many benefits accrued everyone would have a better motivated and trained armed force. I would remove the vast uncertainty which the draft imposes on young men. We have increased freedom in our society. We'd restore military service to the professional dignity it deserves instead of making it the equivalent of a jail sentence which has been general Hershey's main contribution to our society.
We would impose a higher expenditure requirement on foreign ventures that require an expansion of our armed forces and thus perhaps cause our politicians to think twice before they commit our nation to intervention in someone else's coral. When one argues against eliminating the draftees arguing against the paying the military decent salaries and having a highly motivated and well trained soldiers by this criteria most of the army arguments against eliminating the draft seems silly. That was Associate Professor Ross Wilhelm of the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration. With his views and comments on business and economic activity Business Review is recorded by the University of Michigan broadcasting services. This is the national educational radio network.
Business review
Voluntary army
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In program number 401, Ross Wilhelm asserts that the draft should be eliminated and a voluntary army should be in place. He explores arguments on both sides.
Series Description
This series, hosted by Ross Wilhelm, focuses on current news stories that relate to business and economic activity.
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Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Wilhelm, Ross, 1920-1983
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35c-401 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:05:02
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Chicago: “Business review; Voluntary army,” 1969-02-24, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
MLA: “Business review; Voluntary army.” 1969-02-24. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <>.
APA: Business review; Voluntary army. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from