The Washington Post is reporting today that the Pentagon’s new student database already includes 12 million names. The Pentagon has also begun to defend the controversial program:
- David S. C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said the Pentagon’s contract with a private marketing firm was simply an attempt to obtain the most accurate list possible of contact information for high school students ages 16 to 18 as well as all college students… “This is not targeting” by using personal profiles, Chu said, adding that the military has purchased data from commercial data vendors for some time. Chu said he did not know why a firm that specializes in targeted marketing was hired for the task. He said that decision was made by another Pentagon contractor, Mullen Advertising Inc., which works on military ad campaigns.
While Chu is claiming the database will not be used for “targeting” potential recruits, others in the Pentagon have explicitly said it would do just that. Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke told the Associated Press, “The program is very important because it helps the recruiters be more effective to target qualified candidates for specific missions.”