The all-volunteer Army might not last if the current conflicts continue for another two years. That’s the view of Army vice chief of staff General Richard Cody, according to an article in Stars and Stripes. Retired Maj. Gen. Edward Atkeson believes “the all-volunteer force is close to breaking right now.” [See “By the Numbers: Our Decomposing Military”]
“When it does break,” Atkeson says, “that’s when you’ll see the draft come back.”
The all-volunteer force is barely 30 years old and this is the first time it has been taken into an extended fight, the article notes. The difficulties of wartime recruiting suggest a protracted campaign simply may not be possible without a draft or some other radical shift in how bodies are supplied to the military.
Cody also admitted, “What keeps me awake at night is: What will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?”
One interesting note is Cody’s talk about “influencers." “We’re seeing right now mothers and fathers and school teachers and other influencers that maybe are not talking about service to this nation,” Cody said. “So, when you say, ‘Army, you have a recruiting problem,’ I say, ‘America, you
have a recruiting problem.’”
This echoes the analysis put forward in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. In other words, if you can convince moms and clergy and (maybe a little tougher) coaches that joining the military is a bad option, you can keep a lot of kids out. Probably more than if you tried to convince the kids directly.