Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1971


Social Concerns

Since the Army is a reflection of the society from which it springs, the citizens entering military service naturally bring with them the variety of attitudes and practices, both desirable and objectionable, that shape the national environment. Army problems today differ from those of the past, more in degree than in nature. Military services have always had to cope with abuses and, by regulation and leadership, limit their effects in the never-ending task of building and maintaining efficient and effective forces.

Drug Abuse

In the closing month of the year, the President of the United States directed that the critical national problem of drug abuse be given priority attention in the country and in the armed forces. The Army began a series of actions founded on nonpunitive and compassionate considerations, reflecting a national trend to this kind of philosophy. As a first step, a program was instituted in Vietnam to identify drug users before they left for home, to refer them for immediate detoxification (physical withdrawal) in Vietnam, and to provide followup treatment in the United States. Identification, if not voluntary on the part of the individual, is made through biochemical tests of urine, confirmed by separate chemical analysis. Where the use of drugs is confirmed, individuals are referred to a quarantine area for medical observation and detoxification. After two to seven days of treatment, depending on the degree of drug dependency, the individual is sent to a hospital in the United States for further short-termed rehabilitative treatment.

Those whose terms of service are expiring and who need and desire treatment for drug dependency are given an opportunity for at least thirty days of treatment in military facilities if the Veterans Administration or civilian treatment programs are not capable of providing care at the time. Soldiers remaining in service are treated within established military rehabilitation programs. If extensive treatment is indicated, they will be placed in Veterans Administration programs as facilities become available.

Tentative planning was completed to expand the identification and treatment program worldwide during the coming fiscal year. Although it is too early to assess the results of the relatively new programs, results achieved to date are promising and the effort has been well received by patients and by the civilian medical community.


Supplementing the medical aspects of the drug abuse correctional campaign, the Chief of Chaplains continued to conduct workshops (Ministry to the Drug User) emphasizing the moral and spiritual implications of the drug abuse.


Soldier dissent and other antiwar and antimilitary activity directed against the Army continued to be a problem during fiscal year 1971. As in the past, the activities were analyzed and evaluated to see whether there was a co-ordinated central plan to undermine Army morale and discipline. Again, no new evidence appeared.

The number of known and suspected dissenters reported in the Army during the period decreased, while the number of those known to be involved in organizing, planning, or co-ordinating dissenting activity remained relatively stable. Manifestations of protest or dissent—demonstrations, organizational meetings, distribution of literature—fluctuated with the level of civil antiwar-antimilitary activity. Over-all, there was no indication that soldier dissent had been detrimental to combat effectiveness.

Conduct on the Battlefield

The legal consequences of alleged battlefield misconduct in operations around Son My (My Lai) in March 1968 continued during fiscal year 1971. Thirteen servicemen were charged with committing crimes against Vietnamese civilians at Son My, and twelve were charged with failure to properly investigate or report the incident. Of the thirteen charged, three were tried and acquitted, one was convicted, one was pending trial as the year closed, and charges against the others were dismissed. Of the twelve charged with failure to properly investigate or report the incident, one was pending trial, and adverse administrative action had been taken against two and was pending against five others. The charges were dismissed in all cases except the one pending trial.

In connection with battlefield misconduct, documents covering training in the Law of War were updated and new ones staffed, including lesson plans on war crimes and the duty to disobey criminal orders. Several training films on the Geneva and Hague conventions and enemy prisoners of war were also distributed.

Military Justice and Absenteeism

Since the enactment of the Military Justice Act of 1968, the Army has continued to improve the administration of military justice by regulatory changes not requiring legislation. As the statistics below indicate, most members of the Army who confront the military justice system do so at the level of nonjudicial punishment under Article 15 of the


Uniform Code of Military Justice. Article 15 provides for limited forms of punishment and is the lowest level of disciplinary action provided for by the code. A number of procedural changes have been made to improve the fairness of nonjudicial punishment. Notwithstanding the limited nature of the punishment permitted and the fact that such punishment does not become a permanent part of an individual's record, the Army has decided that each person facing punishment under Article 15 should be permitted to discuss his case with a lawyer before determining whether or not to accept punishment under Article 15. If an individual refuses punishment under Article 15, which he may do in all but very rare cases, he may face trial by court-martial, which involves the possibility of serious punishment and a permanent blot on his record. An individual should have the opportunity to discuss his case with a lawyer before making such a serious choice. Additionally, a service member may present defenses and matters in mitigation and extenuation to the officer imposing the punishment under Article 15, and a lawyer can aid the individual in preparing properly to present these matters. Procedures under Article 15 are designed to be as fair as possible consistent with the needs of discipline. The recent changes to the procedures should do much to improve the fairness of Article 15.

There were 45,736 persons tried by court-martial during fiscal year 1971, a rate of 35.73 per thousand, as compared with 58,999 in fiscal year 1970, a rate of 40.10 per thousand. The following chart compares totals and rates per thousand by type for fiscal years 1970 and 1971.




Type Court-martial


Rate per 1,000


Rate per 1,000
















In addition to these court-martial proceedings, 272,029 persons were punished under the provisions of Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military justice (212.5 per thousand), as compared with 318,200 in fiscal year 1970 (216 per thousand).

Under Article 86 of the code, 1,586 individuals were convicted by general court-martial for absence without leave (AWOL), as compared with 1,349 in the previous year. Under Article 85 of the code, 114 individuals were convicted by general court-martial for desertion, as compared with 185 in fiscal year 1970. Under special court-martial proceedings, bad conduct discharges were given to 862 individuals for absence without leave and to three individuals for desertion.

The Army developed several programs to reduce absenteeism. Seminars were conducted for small unit leaders to further their understanding of the AWOL and desertion problem. The supervision of all


aspects of recovery operations was centralized at the department level, and the Continental Army Command sent assistance teams to personnel control facilities to establish procedures that would reduce the time required to process returnees.

There were 25,210 cases during the year ending November 30, 1970, in which members of the U.S. Army overseas were charged with offenses that were subject to the jurisdiction of foreign courts. In 11,800 of these cases, the offenses charged were solely violations of foreign law, and thus subject to exclusive foreign jurisdiction. The remaining 13,410 cases involved alleged violations of both United States military law and foreign law, over which the foreign country had the primary right to exercise jurisdiction. Foreign authorities waived their primary right to exercise jurisdiction in 12,481, or 93 percent, of these cases. Of the 10,801 members of the U.S. Army who were finally convicted by foreign courts only 66 received sentences to unsuspended confinement.

Misconduct off the Battlefield

During fiscal year 1971, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Government Operations resumed hearings and brought to light additional allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel concerned with the operation of clubs and open messes. At the time of these most recent hearings, the Army was already taking measures to improve the operations of the open mess system worldwide. Examples of action taken include creation of career patterns for noncommissioned and warrant officers assigned to manage open messes, initiation of a program for independent audit of open mess accounts by civilian accounting firms and the U.S. Army Audit Agency, promulgation of regulatory changes directed at improving internal fiscal control and supervision of open messes, and personal messages from the Chief of Staff to all major commanders stressing the importance of proper operation of these activities. Thorough and timely investigation of allegations of misconduct reveals that while instances of failures to implement regulatory control procedures are numerous, the vast majority of personnel concerned with the open mess system are honest, dedicated individuals and that dishonesty is limited to a few.

Race Relations

It has been a long-standing policy of the Army to conduct its activities free of racial discrimination, with equal opportunity and treatment for all members regardless of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. Although great progress has been made in this regard, many problems remain, within the service as well as throughout society in general. Soldiers entering the Army bring with them the attitudes and beliefs


that contribute to racial unrest in civilian communities. The Army has thus experienced some of the racial problems found in the larger society.

The Army has attempted to discover the root causes of racial discord and to emphasize the role of leadership in overcoming problems. The Army's goal is to insure that all soldiers are treated fairly and are afforded equal opportunity in all areas of Army life.

The Army has identified some problem areas in the race relations picture, among them ineffective communications between personnel of different ages and races; polarization of the races; a potential for group participation in racial incidents; a lack of timely information on the existence of tensions; and a lack of confidence among black soldiers in the promotion, redress, and judicial systems. The need for more effective measures to reduce racial conflict is recognized, however, and the Army has acted on a number of counts to assure racial harmony within its ranks. Army combat readiness has not been impaired by internal racial friction. Yet even a minor amount of racial unrest and incident is undesirable on any basis, and the Army has moved along many lines to further racial harmony. In the last year, instruction in race relations was incorporated into the Army educational system. Under Continental Army Command direction, the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, developed and tested a course, and a four-hour block of instruction was included in the curriculum for junior leaders at Army service schools beginning in September 1970. The instruction is designed to develop among commissioned officers, warrant officers, and noncommissioned officers an understanding of the basic factors in race relations, the causes of racial tension, and measures to foster racial harmony. The Infantry School also developed a course for presentation in basic combat training; it was tested at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in November 1970 and introduced in all training centers in January 1971. Other race relations training was developed within major Army commands.

An Army-wide Race Relations Conference was held during the period of November 17-20, 1970, to examine systematically the racial problems facing the armed forces, to exchange information on positive measures developed by Army commanders to resolve racial problems, and to develop recommendations for future programs to improve the racial climate.

Steps were also taken during the year to make the Army Exchange System more responsive to the needs and preferences of minority group personnel, and a similar action was taken in the selection of literature for Army libraries worldwide.

Discrimination in off-post housing, one of the more serious problems in racial relations, continued to plague the minority group soldier and his family at home and abroad. A number of new Army procedures were


instituted to get at the root of this problem. All Army members, for example, whether overseas or in the United States, are required to process through a housing referral office before entering into a rental or lease agreement. In turn, housing referral offices worldwide now require agents and owners to sign unqualified assurances that they will rent or lease their facilities without regard to race, under the basic policy that a facility is either open to all soldiers or will be open to none. Commanders were instructed to impose restrictive sanctions upon any rental facility whose owner or agent discriminates against military personnel. Furthermore, the internal operations and staffing of all Army housing referral offices were examined to insure that the Army's nondiscriminatory policies were being followed.

The Army also instituted special recruiting programs for minority group officers, and, as the year closed, these efforts were beginning to show positive results. Most noteworthy was the upward mobility of Negro officers during the period of this report. One active Army Negro officer was promoted to major general and three were nominated for promotion to brigadier general. Two Reserve Component Negro officers were promoted to brigadier general.

Intelligence Policy

Over the past several years a, considerable amount of attention has been centered on the Army's civil intelligence collection operations and the degree to which such activity infringes on the constitutional rights of the citizen. As early as February 5, 1969, the Under Secretary of the Army expressed concern that intelligence collection activities related to civil disturbance problems might exceed strict requirements and intrude upon areas that were essentially of civilian, concern. A memorandum of that date directed that, in the collection of civil disturbance information, primary reliance should be placed upon liaison with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and that a quarterly report of U.S. Army Intelligence Command overt collection activities other than through normal liaison should be provided. This memorandum also prohibited covert collection operations unless concurred in by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and approved in advance by the Under Secretary of the Army.

Actions to implement this memorandum included the publication of two letters of instruction. One, published on April 1, 1970, directed that no intelligence data bank related to civil disturbance or other activities concerning civilians not affiliated with the Department of Defense would be instituted or retained without the approval of the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff. The second letter, issued on June 9, 1970, restricted the Army from gathering civil dis-


turbance information until the Department of justice issues a warning of a disturbance that may exceed civil law enforcement capabilities.

The continuing review of Army counterintelligence activities to insure that they are consistent with constitutional rights while meeting national security needs led to the publication on December 15, 1970, of another departmental letter, listing the types of situations that represent a threat to the Army and warrant intelligence collection, and prohibiting the collection and storage of other information pertaining to civilians not affiliated with the Department of Defense. This letter also directed that existing files be purged of all information not authorized by the letter.

On December 23, 1970, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum to the secretaries of the military departments, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the directors of defense agencies, stating his desire to be certain that Defense Department intelligence and counterintelligence activities were completely consistent with constitutional rights, other legal provisions, and national security needs. He stressed that these activities must be conducted in a manner that recognizes and preserves individual rights, and that policy determinations governing such activities must be retained under civilian guidance and control. This memorandum led to the publication of two Department of Defense directives providing for senior civilian cognizance and control over the Defense Investigative Program and formalizing certain organizational and procedural steps for the program. On June 1, 1971, the Army issued an implementing letter restating Army policy and providing direction concerning the collection, reporting, processing, and storage of information on civilians or civilian organizations not affiliated with the Department of Defense.


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Last updated 9 August 2004