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—

  1. Using "hard sell" tactics on high school teenagers
  2. Raising the maximum enlistment age from 35, then to 40, then to 42
  3. Recalling soldiers and Marines who had left the service but who still hold Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) status
  4. Rubber-stamping officer promotions
  5. Creating a "foreign legion" of non-citizens by offering expedited citizenship and other benefits
  6. Increasing bonuses and promised benefits for re-enlistees to the point that they may be considered mercenaries
  7. Paying private companies to bring in recruits
  8. Lowering standards for test scores, education, mental health, and other indicators of aptitude
  9. Granting more "moral waivers" for recruits with criminal backgrounds.
  10. Admitting more gang members, as indicated by gang tattoos
  11. 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.

Previous post
How the Army is coping with its recruitment shortage (4/3/06)

Follow-up post
BC3: Yet another strategem for replacing the missing Army (4/17/07)


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