President Carter yesterday named a nine-member commission to study the entire system of military pay and retirement benefits, including an analysis of recruiting under the all-volunteer Army.
During a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, the President said the commission's task would include "a renewed analysis of the effectiveness of the voluntary recruitment program."
Carter has said repeatedly that he would not hesitate to recommend reinstituting the draft if he thought it necessary. But White House officials said they did not believe that his mention of the all-volunteer concept, which came as something of a surprise, signalled a full-scale review of the all-volunteer Army.
Pentagon spokesman Thomas B. Ross said the all-volunteer Army is the subject of "continuing review" in the Defense Department and the Congress.
"Our analysis is that it is the better of the possible alternatives," he said. "The draft is not going to cost less, and it might cost more under universal military service."
The President, expressing concern about the high cost of military retirement benefits, promised to establish the Commission on Military Compensation early in his administration. But the actual process of putting it together took months.
Charles J. Zwick of Miami, the chairman of the Southeast Banking Corp. was named to head the commission. One of its other members is Jane P. Pfeiffer, a vice president of IBM, who was Carter's first choice as Secretary of Commerce but turned down the job.
The other members of the commission are: Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Banjamin O. Davis, a former commander of U. S. Forces in Korea; Gen. William E. Depuy, commander of the U. S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va.; Thomas Ehrlich, president of the Legal Services Corp.; John H. Filer, chief executive officer of the Aetna Life and Casualty Co.; Philip A. Odeen, vice president of Wilson Sporting Goods; Walter N. Page, president of Morgan Guaranty Trust Co., and Herbert F. York, professor of physics as the University of California at San Diego.
One of Carter's main concerns has been the soaring cost of the military retirement system, particularly the practice of "double dipping" under which retired military personnel receiving a pension go to work for the government.
According to Pentagon figures, military pensions cost about $9.6 billion a year. Of that amount, it is estimated that retired military personnel working in government get $1 billion for their former service.
In normal years, about 68,000 people retire from the military and, according to congressional sources, between 12 and 15 per cent of them take federal civilian jobs.