The Draft

Project 100,000

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McNamara, Robert. "Memorandum for the President: Subject: Project One Hundred Thousand." July 25, 1967.

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25 JULY, 1967


SUBJECT: Project One Hundred Thousand

In the Spring of 1965, we became concerned with the fact that 35% of the Nation's youth were being disqualified for military service. In September 1965 and again in March 1966, I advised you that we were instituting modest revisions in our mental standards in order to determine whether we could qualify, through improved training programs, some portion of these rejectees for service. These initial revisions quickly demonstrated that we were capable of training successfully many thousands of men who did not score well on our tests. As a result, we announced last August "Project One Hundred Thousand," under which we are further reducing both mental and physical standards in order to accept (1) 40,000 formerly disqualified men in the year beginning October 1, 1966, and (2) 100,000 such men in the year beginning October 1, 1967.

During the 41 weeks between October 1, 1966, and July 14, 1967, we accepted over 35,200 men who would have been disqualified under standards in existence prior to Project One Hundred Thousand. Thus, we are assured of meeting the goal set for the first twelve months of this program.

We have kept individual records on the 35,200 men. An analysis of their backgrounds reveals that 4 out of 10 are non-white (mainly Negroes) compared to 1 out of 10 Negroes among all new enlisted men. Almost 6 out of 10 had not finished high school & over twice the percent of non-high school graduates among new enlisted men as a whole. Furthermore, 30% were unemployed and over 56% were either unemployed or under-employed in terms of earnings at the time of their entry into service.

Thus far, 21,000 of the Project One Hundred Thousand men have been processed through basic training. Less than 4% have been discharged; of these, over half failed for physical reasons. While this rate of discharge in basic training is greater than for men with higher mental aptitudes, it is a very satisfactory rate, and far less than expected.

Beginning October 1, 1967, we plan to increase the intake of Project One Hundred Thousand men to 100,000 in the succeeding twelve months. Of this group, we expect 15,000 to be men with physical defects which can be remedied within six weeks, and the remainder to be men who would have failed under last year's mental test standards.

Robert S. McNamara

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