jump to navigation

Iraq and military recruiting December 18, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Iraq, Politics.

My mind is churning over the Iraq War. What does it all mean? Such a broad question but some tangibles can be looked at.

This war is having an effect on recruiting and retention for the U.S. military. It seems the Reserves are suffering the most. While the active duty components have remained fairly steady over the years from 2000-2004, the Reserves have missed some goals. Though, I’m a little lost for some of their math on the active duty table below.

Active Duty Recruiting 2000-2004



Reserve Component Recruiting 2000-2004

That all comes from a GAO report released in March called “Preliminary Observations on Recruiting and Retention Issues within the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Interesting stuff, this recruiting thing is, it acts a gauge for politicians to judge the morale, and strength of a fighting force. If numbers are down that probably doesn’t bode well for any war or for the military fighting that war. If they are up then, obviously, things are viewed as better off.

So what about Fiscal Year 2005? How did the military fare?

For the U.S. Army there is a nice breakdown here. Looks like the active army was short changed this year while the Reserve hit its recruitment goals. Things are looking upward recently for the Army and its recruiting program. But Christian Science Monitor writer Mark Sappenfield had an idea why recruitment has been up as 2005 comes to a close.

If what he is saying is true, the army could well still be in dire straights when it comes to recruiting new soldiers. Its no wonder the stop loss program has been used to retain soldiers; it has been used only by the three Army components. Many thousands have been affected by the stop loss program.

“A DOD official told us that in June 2005, the Army stop loss program affected over 15,000 soldiers . . .”

That is from the GAO report “DOD Needs Action Plan to Address Enlisted Personnel Recruitment and Retention Challenges,” released in November.

Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) David S.C. Chu said this on July 19, 2005 to the Military Personnel subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

So, the Reserves are stop losing a whole bunch of people, along with the Guard and the regular Army. And at least one person says that the numbers are meant to be made up for in the summertime, when recruits are more available to join.

All of this could render the recently positive direction of recruitment numbers useless, unless optimistic predictions of summer recruitment numbers ring true.

Think about how many Reserve and Guard soldiers and units are mobilized right now in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Of course, this 266 page PDF of the mobilized units includes all reserve service components but it’s still a lot of units.

None of that even begins to take into account the effect of numerous casualties on recruitment and retention levels.

Not sure what that means but the Selective Service is certainly not an inactive federal agency.
It’s budget of $26,100,000 dollars tells me that much, I don’t think it costs $26 million to mail out those little cards when kids turn 18. Although, that budget has been pretty steady since at least 2003, according to factcheck.org. I mean, not to scare monger or anything but the Selective Service does maintain 1,980 local boards.

According to the Selective Service, “A Selective Service Local Board is a group of five citizen volunteers whose mission, upon a draft, will be to decide who among the registrants in their community will receive deferments, postponements, or exemption from military service based on the individual registrant’s circumstances and beliefs” That’s over 10,000 volunteers on local and appeals boards for a draft that will supposedly never happen.

Don’t worry though. The Selective Service has us covered,

From the Selective Service’s Web site FAQs:

Why do we need Selective Service if there may never be a draft?
As President Clinton informed Congress in 1994, ‘Maintaining the Selective Service System and draft registration provides a hedge against unforeseen threats and a relatively low cost ‘insurance policy’ against our underestimating the maximum level of threat we expect our Armed Forces to face.'”

This FAQ is practically screaming, “Hey stupid liberals!”


And for good measure, a shot at everyone’s favorite peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, courtesy of the Selective Service System.

When was registration reinstated?
President Jimmy Carter reinstated the Selective Service registration requirement in the summer of 1980.”

“So don’t blames us!” screamed the Republicans in unison.

Regardless of who’s fault it is that a conscription service exists in America, the fact is that almost everyone signs up for this.

Some jobs that are hard to fill in the Army might
be done by conscripts but a number of the jobs are
hard to fill because they require a certain level of
technical skill.

The jobs you would expect to be
empty are, like infantry, ammunition specialist, tank crew, cavalry scout and other dangerous occupations within the combat arms. Check out this partial list, to the right, from the first GAO report referenced above.

It’s not too hard to see why many of these jobs are on the hard to fill list.

So how much help would an organized draft really be to the military anyway? Commanders continually deny that a draft is needed or wanted, as they have virtually since the war began. We know how well the draft worked in Vietnam.

But let’s face it if a force was actually facing a troop shortage then anyone they could get would do just fine. World War Two came and went and from Dec. 7, 1941 until Dec. 31, 1946 16.1 million Americans served in the European or Pacific theaters of battle. This country can undertake conscription on a gigantic level, of couse Iraq is no WWII either.

But hey it’s as big as the struggle against communism and fascism. A couple of sources quote the Pentagon as saying about 1 million Americans have served in wars since Sept. 11, 2001. One sixteenth the number during WWII and, according to the global security article linked above, one third the number that served in 15 years during the Vietnam War.

If we take the round one million figure we find that just 1.8 percent of the total number of troops serving in a hostile, combat zone become casualties in Iraq or Afghanistan (18,217 as of Dec. 16). In WWII about 1,077,000 Americans became casualties, that’s about 6.7 percent of the 16.1 million who served in the five years from 1941 to 1946. Even statistically, this war is a far cry from the carnage of WWII. But it is interesting to compare.


1. Anonymous - December 19, 2005

Of course recruitment is down, this war is winding down and who would want to join the military after seeing what we have over the past few years? Not I.

2. how to sell car insurance - June 2, 2006

I think war should be abolished…

3. dr. gonzo - June 5, 2006

I think insurance should be abolished.

4. dunya - February 7, 2007

As a muslem, I hope this knowledge is contageous. I wish the fools who are killing each other in Iraq would stop saying it is in the name of God. These idiots do not represent any muslem. Its all polotical. The winning sect will have the most power. Islam has nothing to do with them killing. There is no holy war except in their ancient minds. They are making this world hate muslems because they use Islam as a tool to gain polotical power. I just hope the world passes no judgment until they understand what really is going on here. Islam is the most peacefull religion. I wish people knew that

Leave a Reply to dr. gonzo Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: