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to the States under the Constitution, but under the express provision of the militia law, which provided among those exempted from the enrollment “all persons who now are or may hereafter be exempted by the laws of the respective States.”
At the time of the Spanish-American War we had no Organized Militia and our Federal volunteer laws were so defective and inadequate that there was no authority by which the National Guard organizations--the only forces available other than the Regular Army-could be accepted into the service of the United States as part of the Volunteer Army save as individuals.
It was realized after the Spanish War that provision for the common defense as contemplated by the Constitution had been neglected and abandoned ; that the States had substituted, as their inclination or interests might dictate, a system of State volunteers.
These organized volunteer organizations of the States were designated variously in different States. In the State of New York they constituted the National Guard. In the State of Massachusetts the Volunteer Militia. In other States they were known as Organized Militia or uniformed militia. They were without coordination, different standards of discipline being maintained in different States; the qualifications for enlistment and the method of appointment of officers differed in the various States.
And so Congress, in its attempt to coordinate the system, adopted a definition which was intended to fit the organizations as they were found to exist.
In the act of 1903 the militia was defined as consisting of all those able-bodied male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45, and the act provided for a division into two classes—the Organized Militia, which was to comprise all of these various State volunteer organizations, by whatever name they were known, and that all others liable to service but not actually serving should be known as the unorganized militia.
There is a fundamental distinction between the service of a militiaman and the service of a volunteer. The obligation of service of a militiaman is based upon his citizenship. It is one of the natural obligations resulting from citizenship, the obligation of service being reciprocal to the rights of citizenship.
The obligation of the volunteer depends upon the terms of his enlistment contract.
The organizations to which the definition "Organized Militia" was applied under the act of 1903, existed before that act as State volunteer forces, and when they were taken over under Federal recognition and included in the militia definition, of course they were necessarily subject to all the limitations and qualifications upon the use of militia. They could not be governed by the Federal authorities in time of peace. They could not be called forth for service save for the three purposes provided by the Constitution—to suppress insurrections, repel invasions, and to execute the laws of the Union.
Persuasion and inducement had to be resorted to instead of a system of government. Participation in the appropriations provided by the Congress was made dependent upon compliance with standards of organization and service which there appeared to be no means ctherwise to enforce.
Great improvement was made in the Organized Militia under the system provided by the so-called Dick law,
but lack of coordination, lack of effective Federal control, and the constitutional limitations on the purposes for which it might be called forth were some of the defects of the system.
It was realized that under the power vested in the Congress by the Constitution the Congress might go much further than it ever had gone in providing for the control of the militia.
It was urged, and properly so, that the right to provide for the organization of the militia carries with it the right to prescribe the qualifications of officers, even though there is reserved to the States the authority for the appointment of officers. But it was never claimed, nor can it ever be maintained while our Constitution remains unchanged, that Congress can provide for the government of the militia in time of peace or extend the purposes for which the militia can be called out. So as long as the National Guard is included in the militia definition the so-called federalization might just as well be abandoned. It is merely a catch phrase--a delusion. There can be no federalization without a unified, coordinated Federal control in time of peace as well as in time of war, and so long as the National Guard is militia there can not be such control.
If, on the other hand, the National Guard is excluded from the militia definition, as is the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps of the United States, it would be placed upon a purely volunteer basis. It would become a Federal volunteer force, organized and existing under the Army clause of the Constitution, and there is no limit to which the Congress can not go in its provision for the organization, arming, disciplining, and maintaining the force in time of peace as well as in time of war.
One of the gentlemen who advised your committee this morning made some reference to the service which the National Guard had been called upon to perform on the Mexican border as in some manner due to new obligations assumed under the national-defense act. The national-defense act may contain many just criticisms, but the service on the border was not due to any new obligation assumed or imposed upon the National Guard by the national-defense act. It was referred to as an injustice that men who had enlisted in the guard for State service should find themselves compelled to render service on the Mexican border. I think the men of the National Guard would resent the suggestion that they joined the guard with any idea that they had enlisted solely for State purposes.
When a man assumes the obligation of a national guardsman he knows that he is liable to be called out for service for any of the three constitutional purposes—to suppress insurrection, repel invasion, or to execute the laws of the United States. He understands that. He expects it. The fact that they were called out and kept down there for a long period is a matter of policy, and I am not going to raise the point. There may be a question whether there was an invasion, which there was a constitutional right to call upon the militia to repel. But new conditions make new definitions, so it is not likely one would get very far with any such contention.
As a matter of fact, our volunteer law required that the Organized Militia, under the old law, should be called into service before
any Volunteers of that arm or branch of the service should be raised, and the militia law contained a similar provision.
Is it possible to make of the National Guard a dependable firstline force as a supplement to the Regular Army? That is the question in so far as it relates to the National Guard. It is my judgment that the National Guard can never be made an effective first line without unified, coordinated Federal control for training in time of peace as well as for service in time of war.
This can not be accomplished under the present provisions of the defense act, for the reason that under the defense act the National Guard is included in the militia definition, and being so included, government of the force, until actually called into the Federal service, must remain with the States.
I do believe it is possible, by an amendment of the national-defense act, to exclude the National Guard from the militia definition, and then the Congress would have unlimited power to enact any law which it might deem proper covering its training, discipline, its use, and control.
That brings up a lot of great big questions. If you are going to take this force out of our hands, right away there is the consideration of whether the States would continue to support them. We have in the State of New York $26,000,000 invested in armories. We provide each year a military fund at the rate of $8 per man. We provide headquarters and officers' allowances; for the mounted organizations sufficient funds to hire animals are provided; so that there is a considerable expense about it.
Senator THOMAS. Do you think that is true of all the States—that that proportion is provided ?
Gen. STOTESBURY. No; it is not true. It varies very much, and in some States the amount contributed to the support is very small. At the same time, that is one of the parts of the system; up to this time the forces maintained vary so largely, too.
But the question is, assuming that these contributions of large sums are necessary to the continuance of that force, would the States be likely to continue the support in the same measure if the Federal Government took over complete control in the manner I have suggested!
The reason the States support them now is because there is the right to use the troops in case of civil disorder. It has been urged frequently that it would be much better for the force if they were relieved entirely of the obligation of service in civil disorders. Only last year we cut down the right to call out the force for service in civil disorders by limiting that right to the governor. We eliminated about 435 State and county officers who up to that time had had the right to call forth the force, and now the governor alone has the right to call for the force upon presentation of a case which shows that, with the power at his command, the civil officer is unable to afford adequate protection to life and property.
I believe that the Congress has the undoubted constitutional authority to provide that this force, although purely Federal, may be used in case of civil disorder within the State. There is a constitutional limitation, however, which provides that the Federal force may only be introduced into the State or used at the request of the
legislature when the legislature is in session or of the Governor in case the legislature is not in session and can not readily be convened. I do not think that would be an embarrassment. I think, in view of the amendment we made last year and the tendency to limit this right to call out troops, that the States would not change their disposition of support for a long time to come. States that are giving the support now would continue that support, and where they are not giving it the Government would not lose anything anyway. The States would have the use of a force, we will assume, better trained and better adapted for the purpose. If the policy of permitting the States to call upon the President for these troops should not work out satisfactorily, by that time you would have defined your policy and might decide whether you are going to buy armories or hire them, or whether you will support the force, and you will know just what you want to do in regard to it. In the meantime, the States conld have supplied some other force for use in civil disorders.
If the National Guard is to be constituted a part of the first-line force, if the theory of federalization is to be given a fair trial, the efficacy of the system should not be judged by its operation under the call for Mexican border service.
There had been no opportunity between the approval of the national-defense act and the call for Federal service to adapt the old forms to the new theory. Many of the causes for criticism relate to matters of policy.
It ought to be accepted as a fundamental principle that any first line must be maintained in time of peace at the strength at which it is to be used in time of war.
The President's call required that the organizations of the National Guard be increased to war strength. This meant the introduction of from 30 to 50 per cent of untrained raw material.
The man who joins in such an emergency is of a different character than the man who is willing in normal times to subject himself to military training and discipline.
The greater part of the criticism of the mobilization may be traced, directly or indirectly, to the introduction of this war-strength increment.
It was the war-strength increment that was unprovided with equipment, and the delay in supplying the uniforms and equipment has been the subject of universal condemnation.
It needed no great amount of wisdom or experience to anticipate that if the policy of the Government was to increase the strength of the National Guard organizations after the call for Federal service delay, confusion, hardship, complaint, and just criticism were bound to result unless the necessary equipment for that increased strength could be placed where it would be readily get-at-able when it was needed.
It was the policy of the War Departmnt to hold this so-called warstrength property in storage at Philadelphia or the Rock Island Arsenal. So necessary did it seem to the military authorities in the State of New York that this property be within the State, subject to immediate issue when the emergency arose, that we offered to provide storehouses in every armory, to be designated as a United States storeroom and set apart for such a purpose under the control of and
accessible only to a Federal officer, so that in an emergency the Federal officer could turn over the key to the supply officer of the organization, take his receipt for the property transferred, and the business of supply could be initiated at once.
While this proposal had the approval of the Eastern Department, there were reasons which persuaded the War Department to disapprove, and so the property remained on storage until after the call for Federal service.
While original plans contemplated that in such an emergency the organizations would be sent to the State mobilization camp, and the property would be sent from the Federal storehouses to the mobilization camp for distribution, conditions did not work out as anticipated. The emergency was of such a character that many organizations were sent directly from their armories to the trains which were to transport them to the border. This required a complete change in the scheme of distribution of the war-strength property. It had to be separated, assorted, and diverted to meet the new conditions, and this at the period of greatest stress and confusion.
Statements have been made to your committee in regard to the difficulty of recruiting the National Guard to its prescribed war strength. I would like to tell you something of our experience in New York State in regard to that: We had provided, in the State of New York, for the organization of depot units to take the place of every organization called into the Federal service. The depot unit assumed control of the armory and took charge of the recruiting for the parent organization. It carried out the plan of territorial recruitment; that is, the obtaining of recruits for an organization from the home station or territory covered by the parent organization.
From the nature of the service it is far more important that recruits for National Guard organizations be obtained from the territory covered by the organization than it is in the case of volunteers, for the men enlisted in the National Guard after muster out of the Federal service must continue their training and serve at their home stations, while in the case of volunteers the organization is broken up and disappears after its muster out.
So we had worked out a scheme of recruiting through the depot unit. It had the advantage of the support of the veterans of the parent organization and the patriotic support of the community.
This plan of recruiting worked with reasonable satisfaction and was producing good results, but it was not according to the Federal plan, and the recruits enlisted by the commanding officers of the depot units could not be recognized by the Federal authorities. A Federal recruiting rendezvous was established. Officers were mustered into the Federal service especially for recruiting duty. Offices were established at various cities and towns throughout the State, and the work of recruiting was conducted according to the usual Regular Army plan.
Officers of the depot units who had been active in the work of recruiting soon lost interest and withdrew their support. Local interest and community sentiment no longer prevailed, and recruiting did fall off, but it was largely due to a policy which failed to recognize and failed to make use of the machinery which had been established in the State for that purpose.