[Homestead] Army recruiting shortfall and upcoming military draft
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Sep 23 19:05:49 EDT 2004
That figures, who the hell would put up with perpetual overseas
assignments away from family and the badly damaget (and uncompensated)
The Bush Administration is quietly instituting a military draft in
2005---not a word about it of course because it would lose a tone of
votes. I'd vote for the damned draft---really enrages me if the rich
can escape military duty while poor are sucked into the machine as
General Says Army Guard Will Fall Short of Recruiting Goal This Year
*By Robert Burns* The Associated Press
Published: Sep 23, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army National Guard will fall 5,000 soldiers short
of its recruiting goal this year, in part because fewer in the
active-duty force are switching to part-time service, knowing how
frequently Guard units are being dispatched to war zones, the Guard's
top general said Thursday.
It will be the first time since 1994 that the Guard has missed its
Army Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said
in an Associated Press interview that he's concerned by the shortfall
but believes it will not be a long-term trend.
"This is something that can't be ignored. I've got to watch it every
day," he said. "But it's not something that I would say indicates that
we're breaking. I think it indicates that the recruiting climate has
gotten tougher, and that means we need to adjust to a tougher market."
The Guard had set a goal of 56,000 recruits for the budget year ending
Sept. 30 but is likely to end up with about 51,000, he said.
Blum cited two main reasons why the Guard is attracting fewer soldiers
from the active-duty force - a pool of recruits that in some states
accounts for half of the new Guard members in a given year.
One reason is the active-duty Army is prohibiting soldiers already in
units in Iraq or Afghanistan - or preparing to deploy there - from
leaving the service, even if their enlistment term is up.
The other reason, Blum said, is that active-duty soldiers know a growing
number of Guard units are being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, so they
figure there is little to be gained, in terms of reduced personal risk,
by switching from active duty to the Guard.
"If you want to get away from active duty and you don't want to take a
chance that you're going to deploy that quickly again, then you probably
are going to make a clean break for a while and not join the Guard or
Reserve, and so we are suffering," Blum said.
He also disclosed that the 86th Brigade of the Vermont Army National
Guard has been added to the list of Guard units told they will deploy to
Iraq for the next troop rotation, which is under way. That unit is
likely to go early next year, another official said.
Attracting recruits who have no prior military service, meanwhile, has
been made more difficult because many Guard units are spending a year or
more abroad and therefore are not available to persuade young people in
their communities to join the military, Blum said.
"Our most effective recruiting is word-of-mouth," he said. "When you
have 27 percent of your force deployed overseas, they're not doing much
To respond to the shortfall, Blum said he will increase the number of
recruiters and put more effort into targeting young people in high
school and college with no military service.
Another key aspect of maintaining Guard strength is what the military
calls retention - the Guard members who re-enlist. Blum said the Army
Guard is meeting its retention goal this year and finding re-enlistments
are higher in units that deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan than those that
He said he believes this reflects the sense of pride and commitment that
develops in Guard units when they are put in harm's way, as they are in
Iraq and Afghanistan. At least 114 Army National Guard soldiers have
been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.
Blum expressed confidence that the Army National Guard and Air National
Guard, both of which he oversees, can keep up their fast pace of
activity both domestically and abroad over the long term, but only if he
can provide more predictability on the frequency of mobilizations.
He said he would like to be able to assure Guard members, their families
and employers that they will be called on no more than once every four
to six years. He said he cannot do that now because there are not enough
deployable combat units in the active and reserve forces. But a
reorganization now under way in the active and reserve forces will
eventually increase the forces available for deployment, he said.
On the Net:
The National Guard Bureau at http://www.ngb.army.mil
More information about the Homestead