Martin Anderson's Striking Analogy on the Draft
By David Henderson
I posted recently about Annelise Anderson’s reminiscences of her and her husband Martin Anderson’s role in Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign for President. She stated:
The first thing that Martin did for Richard Nixon—one of the first things—it’s dated July 4, 1967—is to make the argument for abolishing the military draft and moving to an all-volunteer armed force.
In cleaning out my files last week, I discovered that Marty had sent me a mimeographed copy of July 4 write-up for Nixon. It’s titled “An Analysis of the Factors Involved in Moving to An All-Volunteer Armed Force.” Marty wrote it while he was a young assistant professor at Columbia University.
It’s full of gems. For one thing, Marty was the first person I know of on the anti-draft side of the debate who saw recruiting women as one of the ways of getting volunteers.
But my favorite part is where he discusses the official Defense Department view on the budgetary cost (not the social cost) of moving to an all-volunteer force. He mentions a statement by DoD’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Mr. Morris that the additional costs could range from $4 billion to $17 billion. The Secretary of Defense at the time, Robert McNamara, had been head of Ford Motor Company. Anderson writes:
For the Department of Defense to state, as Mr. Morris, the Assistant Secretary for Manpower did, that the additional costs could range from $4 billion to $17 billion is comparable to Mr. McNamara, when he was with the Ford Motor Company, estimating the cost of a new Ford at “somewhere between $2,000 and $8,500.” Defense cost projections are admittedly uncertain, but they are not that uncertain.
(Marty underlined “could” and, in the last sentence, “that.”)
In the rest of the 29-page report, Marty does his own estimates, quite judiciously, and narrows the range substantially, with the final number being on the low end of Mr. Morris’s numbers. The paper also does so much more: making a principled case for eliminating conscription and handling the various arguments against that case.