Growth of the Military
More Americans Joining Military as Jobs Dwindle
As the number of jobs across the nation dwindles, more Americans are joining the military, lured by a steady paycheck, benefits and training.
The last fiscal year was a banner one for the military, with all active-duty and reserve forces meeting or exceeding their recruitment goals for the first time since 2004, the year that violence in Iraq intensified drastically, Pentagon officials said.
And the trend seems to be accelerating. The Army exceeded its targets each month for October, November and December — the first quarter of the new fiscal year — bringing in 21,443 new soldiers on active duty and in the reserves. December figures were released last week.
Recruiters also report that more people are inquiring about joining the military, a trend that could further bolster the ranks. Of the four armed services, the Army has faced the toughest recruiting challenge in recent years because of high casualty rates in Iraq and long deployments overseas. Recruitment is also strong for the Army National Guard, according to Pentagon figures. The Guard tends to draw older people.
“When the economy slackens and unemployment rises and jobs become more scarce in civilian society, recruiting is less challenging,” said Curtis Gilroy, the director of accession policy for the Department of Defense.
Still, the economy alone does not account for the military’s success in attracting more recruits. The recent decline in violence in Iraq has “also had a positive effect,” Dr. Gilroy said.
Another lure is the new G. I. Bill, which will significantly expand education benefits. Beginning this August, service members who spend at least three years on active duty can attend any public college at government expense or apply the payment toward tuition at a private university. No data exist yet, but there has traditionally been a strong link between increased education benefits and new enlistments.
The Army and Marine Corps have also added more recruiters to offices around the country in the past few years, increased bonuses and capitalized on an expensive marketing campaign.
The Army has managed to meet its goals each year since 2006, but not without difficulty.
As casualties in Iraq mounted, the Army began luring new soldiers by increasing signing bonuses for recruits and accepting a greater number of people who had medical and criminal histories, who scored low on entrance exams and who failed to graduate from high school.
The recession has provided a jolt for the Army, which hopes to decrease its roster of less qualified applicants in the coming year. It also has helped ease the job of recruiters who face one of the most stressful assignments in the military. Recruiters must typically talk to 150 people before finding one person who meets military qualifications and is interested in enlisting. Dr. Gilroy said the term “all-volunteer force” should really be “an all-recruited force.”
Now, at least, the pool has widened. Recruiting offices are reporting a jump in the number of young men and women inquiring about joining the service in the past three months.
As a rule, when unemployment rates climb so do military enlistments. In November, the Army recruited 5,605 active-duty soldiers, 6 percent more than its target, and the Army Reserve signed up 3,270 soldiers, 16 percent more than its goal. December, when the jobless rate reached 7.2 percent, saw similar increases in recruitments... (more at the link)
Re: Growth of the Military
No child left unrecruited...
I seriously want to spit when the recruiters come in to the schools...