By the Numbers: Our Decomposing Military

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ThinkProgress.org recently published a by-the-numbers examination of the impact the war has had on the U.S. military’s recruitment and readiness. We reprint it here to mark the second-anniversary of the invasion of Iraq:

5: Number of years since the U.S. Army last failed to fill its monthly quota of volunteers sent to boot camp, which it did this month.
10: Number of years since the U.S. Marine Corps last missed its monthly recruitment goal, which it has done twice already this year.
11: Number of years since the U.S. National Guard last missed its annual recruitment goal, which it did in 2004.
27: Percent by which the U.S. Army missed its recruitment targets this month.
30: Percent by which the U.S. National Guard missed its recruitment targets in November and December 2004.
41: Drop in African American enlistments over the last four years, by percent.
1: Number of military reserve components that actually met their recruiting goals for the first four months of the current fiscal year; the other five reserve components did not.
3,900: Number of former soldiers belonging to a pool that can be mobilized only in a national emergency recently called up by the U.S. Army.
25: Increase, by percent, in the number of high school dropouts allowed to enlist in the Army thanks to newly lowered recruitment standards.
33: Increase, by percent, in the number of applicants who received the lowest acceptable scores on a service aptitude test now allowed to enlist in the Army thanks to newly lowered recruitment standards, by percent.

3 Responses to “By the Numbers: Our Decomposing Military”

  1. IRR Soldier... Says:

    Some comments on a very good piece:

    1) It was the ARMY National Guard that missed its annual recruiting mission. There is no such thing as the “U.S. National Guard.” There are seperate Air and Army National Guards for all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

    2) The Active Army has missed its monthly mission within the past 5 years, but they were very clever in “massaging the numbers” to cover up the shortfalls. This deceit is no longer working because there are so fe joining. How have they faked the numbers: a) they enlist kids in an accelerated manner to get them in for the month, knowing full-well that they will never actually ship to basic training; b) they stonewall and delay the administrative discharges of kids in the Delayed Entry Pogram (DEP) that want out until the new month that way these kids count for the monthly numbers.

    3) Actually they called up 5,400 members of the IRR and we have collectively fought like hell to avoid mobilization. They recinded many of the orders and only 3,900 orders are now in effect.

    4) The “5 year number” is technically inaccurate. That number is only counting aggregate enlistments – not actually shipping soldiers off to BCT. If you go by that yardstick alone, the situation is much more dire.

    5) Again, the Army does not have “boot camp” – it has BCT – Basic Combat Training. A technicality, to be sure, but something you should aim to be accurate about if you want to have any credibilty with a military or former military audience.

    Overall, a great post, but I just wanted to leave my clarifications.

  2. Guy Says:

    My son served in the Army, including a year in Korea and Iraq. He left the Army a little over a year ago. Yesterday, he received a letter from the local reserve unit indicating that he was likely to be reactivated, and that it would be in his best interest to attend a ‘debriefing’ today to understand his options. In the meeting he was basically told that it was just a matter of time before he was to be called up, and that he had other ‘options’, which included selecting to join a reserve unit now before his orders are issued. I can’t help but think that this is a recruiting attempt. Has anyone here heard of this happening elsewhere?

  3. Steph Says:

    yup… same EXACT thing just happen to me. Funny thing is I’m not in the IRR. I was discharged early out of the military and have no IRR obligation. In other words, they shouldn’t be trying to call me up. But a reserve recruiter called me to update my information and try to get me to join a unit before “I am called up into a unit I don’t want to go to.” Sounds like a bad scare tactic to me.

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