Friday, September 15, 2006
Ground Force of the Day
US ground forces are increasingly made up of a motley mix of under-age teens, old-timers, foreign fighters, gang-bangers, neo-Nazis, ex-cons, inferior officers and a host of near-mercenary troops, lured in or kept in uniform through big payouts and promises. —Nick Turse writing in "Coaxing the Unwilling"
Turse took a look at ways the military is meeting its recruitment goals. Here are the methods he turned up—
- Using "hard sell" tactics on high school teenagers
- Raising the maximum enlistment age from 35, then to 40, then to 42
- Recalling soldiers and Marines who had left the service but who still hold Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) status
- Rubber-stamping officer promotions
- Creating a "foreign legion" of non-citizens by offering expedited citizenship and other benefits
- Increasing bonuses and promised benefits for re-enlistees to the point that they may be considered mercenaries
- Paying private companies to bring in recruits
- Lowering standards for test scores, education, mental health, and other indicators of aptitude
- Granting more "moral waivers" for recruits with criminal backgrounds.
- Admitting more gang members, as indicated by gang tattoos
- Enlisting neo-Nazis and other white supremacists, who are happy to receive the training.
Let me add to the list a method I wrote about in April: the Individual Augmentee (IA) program in which sailors are placed under Army command.
How the Army is coping with its recruitment shortage (4/3/06)
BC3: Yet another strategem for replacing the missing Army (4/17/07)