An interesting side note that no one mentions when they talk about military recruiting these days, via
Stars and stripes is not what I would call an "independent source" for those numbers. If that is so why does no paper not published by the pentagon print that??
Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at July 17, 2005 09:29 PM (aHbua)
So, what, that means it's falsified? I personally think other papers don't care about making the military look successful in its goals. And anecdotally speaking, my husband reenlisted all but two of his eligible soldiers while they were in Iraq.
Posted by: Sarah at July 18, 2005 04:25 AM (6lBgN)
I'd like to know what the overall rate is. Anti-Bush MSM like citing recruiting numbers as evidence that the GWoT is causing our military to weaken. The military cities performance against re-enlisment goals.
What's the big picture?
Posted by: Sean at July 18, 2005 12:59 PM (etwyR)
Sean asks an important question. My hunch is that the Army is behind its goals if you look at new enlistments plus re-enlistments together. According to Stars and Stripes, so far in FY '05 the Army is about 3,000 ahead of its goals in re-enlistments. I don't know the new enlistment number for the same time period. But just in February alone, new enlistments were over 1,900 below the goal. In May, it fell over 1,600 below its goal. PLUS, in May the Army actually dropped its goal to 6,070 from 8,050. It missed its original goal for that month alone by about 3,000.
For the record, I don't think that you can infer anything positive or negative about the success of Bush's policies from these numbers. It does say that our soldiers aren't cowards, but no one thought that they were.
Posted by: Pericles at July 18, 2005 03:49 PM (hHudX)
The reenlisment goals are what are set by the individual service for that year in order to meet "end strength" numbers. Each service has a set "end strength" (number of personnel at the end of the fiscal year--1 Oct). This includes the recruiting goal.
For instance if the end strenght is "X" and recruiting falls short, reenlisments have to increase to meet end strength requirements.
I look at the high reenlistment rate as a sign of what we are doing right and recruitment as an indicator of what we are doing wrong. We are doing a good job of showing the importance of our work (reenlistments) and a poor job of selling ourselves to the mother's and father's of potential recruits (enlistments).
Notice the Corps is awesome at reenlistments? Despite one of the most heavily burdened services with combat deployments? That just shows the "common" Marine believes in what he/she is doing! Same goes for the other services.
Bottom line is people who serve believe in the fight and the importance of what we accomplish every day.
Posted by: Jamie at July 18, 2005 07:45 PM (yDBbJ)
One explanation of this that I've heard is that the combination of high re-enlistment bonuses and stop-loss have led to many people re-enlisting simply because they know they'll be forced to stay in anyway and if they don't re-enlist, they won't get the re-up bonus. This doesn't counter your statement but it hardly leads us to think that there's a great deal of enthusiasm for the war.
Posted by: Karlo at July 19, 2005 09:07 PM (r65rq)
Jamie -- I am reminded of what Donald Sensing's son went through when he was trying to choose Army or Marines
. The Army relies heavily on the GI Bill as a selling point, but not many people are going to take that bait during a war. In contrast, the Marines focus on patriotism and duty. That's a stark contrast, in my opinion.
Posted by: Sarah at July 20, 2005 04:52 AM (aZGxu)
There isn't a great deal of enthusiasm for ANY war. If you've been to one, you realize why the phrase "War is Hell" was coined.
However, we are fighting for our very beliefs and way of life. If we are to roll over and allow the terrorist to win, we lose--everything. Believe it or not this a large part of the "war on terror". It was never about WMD. We are fighting extremist who want to take away our way of life and replace it with a version 99% of US citizens wouldn't comprehend. I am NOT talking about Isam as a religion either.
We fight there or they come here. It REALLY is as simple as that. Would anyone want Zarqawi roaming in their neighborhood? That is exactly what we would get if we don't fight. Just imagine 100 million Zarqawis roaming in the neighborhood of the US. Most people fighting know this. Reenlistments are high because of this.
Sarah is right though. The Army doesn't do a good job of sales. Also, the media doesn't help by displaying anything that shines a bad light on the military and never showing the positive work done by our armed services.
The Army does offer some good bonuses though for re-ups (so does the Air Force--I got a pretty decent chunk of change. Even as a "lifer"). Bonuses do help retention but not as much as most think. Also stop loss is really not an issue here. Most of the stop loss stories are rumors.
PS: Sorry Sarah for taking over your comments. I couldn't resist this one.
Posted by: Jamie at July 20, 2005 09:24 PM (yDBbJ)
About a year ago, a former Marine officer I know laid out for me the different recruiting pitches that the different branches use. He said that for the Army it was the GI Bill, as other people have said. For the Marines, though, he thought it was "We will make a man of you." He said that the men he commanded were mostly guys who had been scrawny runts before going into the Corps who were sick of being pushed around and who wanted the Corps to toughen them up. (Which is what happened, I presumed; I'm not calling any serving Marines runts.)
I think the "Better to fight them in Iraq in America" line is bogus, though. We are fighting different groups of people in Iraq. Some are Baathists, or Iraqis who were not in love with Saddam but don't want another country's army in their territory. They would never have bothered us if we weren't in Iraq. Then there are the real jihadists, the suicide bomber types who had been suppressed under Saddam but are coming in over the border. Them we need to kill. If we hadn't gone into Iraq, though, then they would have gone to Afghanistan, and we could have killed them there. And concentrating on Afghanistan would have saved us a lot of trouble. That was the war we had to fight, and if we had focused on it 100% maybe Osama Bin Laden---the guy who killed 3,000+ Americans---would be dead or in jail.
Posted by: Pericles at July 20, 2005 10:57 PM (hHudX)
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