Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Army Likely Won't Meet Recruiting Goals (again)

"WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army expects to miss its recruiting goals again this month and next, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey said Wednesday, and it is developing a new sales pitch that appeals to the patriotism of parents who have been reluctant to steer their children toward the Army."

Another month and another recruiting goal missed. There is so much I could say about this and there is so much that this says about the state of the empire.

First, what does this say about the Army? I read in this week's Army Times two interesting articles. One dealt with the cut backs in "quality of life" functions at bases in order to fund the war. Of course this sort of thing compounds the real problem in the long-term. Take away things like gyms, tuition and family activities and folks returning from deployments wonder why they live a life with relatively low pay and constant deployments. The military is a family and is made up of families. The old saying that "if momma ain't happy nobody is happy' is very true. Short term financial gains made through cuts in things that keep families happy will only serve to make the manning problem tougher.

Of course that is small potatoes. You cannot buy a quality army. The bigger issue is trust and leadership. The ordinary Joe has lost confidence that senior leaders are really competent or that they (for the most part) have interest greater than their own at heart. Men will serve in austere and difficult situations time and time again for folks they trust.

We have some very fine young men (and a few good women) serving in all the branches of the military. In point of fact these are truly some of the best citizens. Of course there are bad apples but there are many of the finest sorts you will find. These people stay and serve despite the lack of real principles to be found in senior officers.

How long will they serve? There is a limit to even the goodwill of idealistic young men. Many are or will leave.

And now the nation as a whole no longer supports the institution with the best and brightest. The situation is not new, it has all occurred before.

In order to meet the end strength levels required more and more drastic measures will ensue. Standards will continue to be lowered and we will make do with what we have. We are breaking the Army slowly.

This brings me to the second article. It dealt with the shortage of lieutenants. The Army has numerous plans to "fix" this. All involve lowering standards. Again, the long term result will be a weakened Army, one that is led by less than the best as these "make dos" make their way up the rank chain.

All of this is dangerous, at least for the empire and certainly for those few good folks that choose to serve.

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