[Homestead] Army recruiting shortfall and upcoming military draft

Tvoivozhd 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) 
family business?

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 
cannon-fodder.




General Says Army Guard Will Fall Short of Recruiting Goal This Year

*By Robert Burns* The Associated Press
Published: Sep 23, 2004

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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 
sign-up goal.

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 
word-of-mouth recruiting."

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 
did not.

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

AP-ES-09-23-04 1434EDT







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