In March 1969, the President of the United States created the Commission on an all-volunteer armed force, chaired by former Secretary of Defense Thomas S. Gates, "to develop a comprehensive plan for eliminating conscription and moving toward an all-volunteer armed force."
In its February 1970 report, the Commission unanimously agreed "that the nation's interests will be better served by an all-volunteer force, supported by an effective standby draft, than by a mixed force of volunteers and conscripts." The President, in a message to the 91st Congress, proposed that the nation "begin moving toward an end of the draft and its replacement with an all-volunteer armed force," while reforming the draft system along more equitable lines. Congress responded with actions in both areas, notably a lottery system for draft eligibility and proposals for substantial pay increases for personnel entering military service.
In response to the Commander-in-Chief's proposal and the Secretary of Defense's zero-draft target date of 1 July 1973, the Army launched a broad range of actions calculated to elevate the professional environment, provide a better quality of life and inspire public esteem for the men and women who serve the nation.
In 1971, the recruiting service was expanded both in personnel and stations, a process which continued through 1972. More leased housing was provided for recruiters and assignments and proficiency pay were stabilized. A radio and television campaign was successful, confirming the belief that paid advertising was essential to an effective recruiting effort.
From the early months of 1971 to the present, the U.S. Army Seattle Recruiting Battalion has flexed and changed in terms of recruiter strength and geography. The most recent change occurred in May 2002 when Seattle BN's Tacoma Company was selected as one of 10 test sites nationwide in which recruiting would be conducted by civilians contracted through Military Professional Resources, Inc.
Currently, Seattle Battalion covers 687,800 square miles and is comprised of 3 MEPS, 7 companies and 37 stations throughout Washington State, Alaska, Oregon and the "Panhandle of Idaho". Battalion manpower is comprised of 15 officers, 15 Department of the Army civilians and more than 200 NCOs.