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Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey, in a letter to the Washington Post:
On Oct. 11 the Defense Department released its recruiting figures for fiscal 2005. Much attention has been given to the Army missing its goal of 80,000 recruits by 6,600. Despite some alarmist rhetoric, the Army is not in a recruiting crisis or considering a draft.A notable point - that 2 percent figure. Recruiting has been nearly steady-state for a decade over all branches of the military - we recently looked at facts and figures here. While one fact remains undeniable - the Army did fall short of it's raised recruiting goal this year - a corollary is false, that being "because of the war".
To put this year's shortfall in perspective, the total of 73,400 people recruited is within 2 percent of the average recruitment each year for the past 10 years.
Although in fact, one group of recruits was undoubtedly deterred from joining for just that reason - those who enlist solely "for an education" or "for the benefits". No doubt that incentive is still weighed as a major factor by those considering a future in uniform in any branch of service, but 4 years of the war on terror has now eliminated any expectation that such benefit comes at no cost to those who choose it. Having seen much media coverage of those who decided to bolt at the first sound of the guns while admitting their motive for enlisting was only for personal gain, we can assume many such people exist. You can also take my word for it based on personal experience - I've met several over the past two decades. Now of course, they must find other avenues to achieve their goals.
The unappreciated fact is that based on the real numbers, any loss of such potential troops has been offset by a like number of new recruits who are willing to move towards the sound of the guns. I've met several of them over the past two decades too - and many more over the last four years. I prefer their company to that of the other sort.
It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier."
It sounds like the military is upgrading their personnel at the expense of quantity. That's always a fair trade. My experience in the peacetime to war fighting transition army certainly taught me that there were only a certain number of soldiers around me that were really cut out for the new circumstances, and good riddance to those that I didn't want watching my back.Posted by JJS at October 21, 2005 08:04 PM
Great analysis. Too bad "journalists" urually don't even get through Statistics 101. Oh well, there's a reason they're at the bottom of the SATs, right down there with members of the National Education Association.Posted by Da Coyote at October 21, 2005 09:04 PM
hey coyote, not all of us teachers are pinko-commie, terrorist boot kissing, peaceniks. Some of us (okay, three of us) actually are "right" thinking people. As for the NEA, I apologize.Posted by Robert Mandel at October 25, 2005 08:47 PM
i think they are doing as good as they canPosted by cheryl at October 26, 2005 12:46 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(4) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)