Archive for February, 2007

Protesters face possible punishment at U. of Massachusetts

February 28, 2007

Last year an anti-war and counter-recruitment group called CAMEO at the University of Texas was singled out and penalized for supposedly violating some rules on the presence of non-students on campus when it invited Cindy Sheehan to speak at an event. The group was fined and essentially barred from activity for all of last semester. It looks like the same kind of thing could happen in Massachusetts. From the Amherst Bulletin:

University of Massachusetts students could face penalties over an anti-war protest at a campus job fair Feb. 15.

About 25 members of the student group UMass AntiWar Coalition formed a picket line in front of the Reserve Officers Training Corps recruitment booth during a Summer Co-op and Internship Opportunities Fair in the Campus Center.

[…]

Jackson decried the complaint against the coalition and said he was unaware of any member of the group taking the list. “We didn’t obstruct recruitment, we merely formed a picket line. We did not keep people from talking to recruiters.

“Clearly, any individual’s behavior does not represent the policies and wishes of the AntiWar Coalition,” Jackson said, when asked about the missing list.

Under the Student Code of Conduct’s rules on picketing, students are prohibited from disrupting class work or other university business or invading the rights of others. Students are barred from blocking a person’s mobility and cannot interfere with the freedom of speech of another individual. Violations of the code may lead to expulsion or a lesser sanction.

Jackson said the coalition talked to students and recruiters about military careers. He said the group was trying to counter military recruitment efforts and “misinformation” provided by recruiters with information about “what really happens” when a person joins the military.

[…]

Despite the complaint, the AntiWar Coalition will continue to protest military recruitment on campus.

“Wherever there are recruiters on campus we are going to actively oppose these representatives and ask them to leave. It’s what we’ve done in the past and what we’ll do in the future,” Jackson said.

Counter-recruitment across Washington

February 27, 2007

Last Saturday activists converged on military recruitment centers across Washington state.

In Bellingham, near the Canadian border:

This Saturday, February 24th, over 100 people who rallied in front of Bellingham, WA’s Military Recruitment Center demanding an end to both the US occupation of Iraq and military recruitment in schools. The event, called in part by Northwest Students for a Democratic Society, was done in coordination with similar actions in both Tacoma and Olympia.

[…]

The rally managed to shut down the center for about 30 minutes, as the recruiters locked their door and turned off their lights. Police presence was moderate, with several squad cars stationed in a parking lot across the street, but never – to my knowledge – interacting with the event.

In Olympia, near the southern part of the state:

A group of 8 people met in Yauger park at 10 AM this Saturday. It was raining and, much to my dismay, one of the main busses that would have taken people to the park was not running. As we were waiting there, we saw a bunch of amerikan flags by the recruiting center across the street. It became clear that these were counter-protesters.

We walked over to the center and began to mingle with the freedom fighters. The center, which was supposed to be open from 10-1 was closed, the doors locked and the blinds down. The patriots outnumbered us by nearly 2 to 1. Nevertheless, we stayed there for about 2 hours, talking with them. One man lost his cool and started yelling at one of us. He angrily stormed off and, soon after, 2 cops arrived but nothing happened with them. Finally, we got tired and left.

And in Tacoma:

On February 24, 2007, a protest/rally/carnival was held at military recruitment center in Tacoma, WA. This action was planned in coordination with same-day events in Bellingham and Olympia.

Publicity for the Tacoma protest was kept pretty low-key to keep the recruiters and cops from finding out, and encourage more spontaneous and open interaction between ourselves and with the public. Authorities somehow did find out, and this was the most obvious lesson to be learned from the event: that the State can access information we may not consider readily accessible, and the fact of people assembling — no matter the scale — necessitates an overwhelming show of force.

Not as many people as anticipated made it to the protest, as there were about 15 activists. We may have easily been outnumbered by police, with a count of 9 cop cars, at least 4 bicycle cops, and one van. It wasn’t as much of a carnival without lots of people there, but there were a costume and some bubble blowing. So we held signs, handed out some counter-recruitment information to passersby, and some participants went into the center to “get some info about joining the military.” A banner reading “END WAR – STOP RECRUITING” was discovered nearby over I-5 the same day.

POG: Barricade the War Machine

February 24, 2007

Update: Also see “Why I will risk arrest on March 2” for one activist’s defense of the planned direct action.  An excerpt:

I’m hyped to be trying something new. Utilizing the same tactics or strategies is likely to lead to diminishing returns on their effectiveness. I’ve always felt lucky to live in Pittsburgh at this time in history because there continues to be a genuine interest among disparate views in taking the risks necessary to try new tactics. It’s true we may fail spectacularly at actualizing a barricade and I’ll still consider this action a positive step in the growth of our movements. It’s only through trying new and bold things that we’ll find an occasional promising new model or method, that will make the kind of history I want to be a part of.

re.jpgA message from the Pittsburgh Organizing Group:

Friday, March 2, will be a day of civil disobedience and direct action against the war machine in Pittsburgh. The main action will be an attempt to barricade the National Robotics Engineering Center, a branch of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that develops robotic vehicles and weapons delivery systems for the U.S. Army and Marines.

7:00am: Gather in Friendship Park (Friendship Ave and Mathilda St in Bloomfield)
7:30am: March to barricade NREC facility (40th and Willow St in Lawrenceville)

Calls are also going out for autonomous actions at military recruitment stations, the offices of politicians supporting the war, and local war profiteers like Bechtel.

Why CMU and NREC?
CMU is one of the largest academic military contractors in the country. Many of the software guidance systems, general communications networking systems, and some of the robotics technology used in Iraq were developed at CMU. And through the efforts of its National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) — which receives most of its funding from the Pentagon — it has become the world leader in warfare robotics. Among other monstrosities, it is building is the “Gladiator” Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle, a remote controlled robo-tank designed for urban warfare.

The military research done by CMU and NREC is a glaring example of the increasing militarization of academia; students and faculty are knowing, and often unknowing, cogs in an expanding and terrifying war machine. Instead of allowing CMU and NREC to glorify war at the expense of more humanitarian ends, let us start calling and treating them for what they are: war profiteers and merchants of death.

Why a blockade and why March 2nd?
We are excited that local protests are being organized for the 4th anniversary of the Iraq war and yet we can’t escape the feeling that, at this time in history, something more is needed. Alongside large marches, there is a need for actions that are direct and compelling: actions that speak to public refusal of the war, that are demands — not requests, that directly confront militarism itself rather than one particular manifestation of it.

On March 2, let’s bring anti-war resistance to the center of the public’s attention and shut down a local player in the war machine. Attempting to shut down NREC will be a non-violent direct action against the Iraq war as well as a symbolic statement on the increasing degree to which people are prepared to resist endless U.S. wars for empire.

For more information about the Shutdown NEC action see this page.

Pittsburgh has been a hotbed of counter-recruitment activity over the last several years. In 2005 the Pittsburg Organizing Group organized a regional counter-recruitment conference. On Wednesday of this week the POG again protested outside a local recruiting center. In an announcement of the action the POG “clarified” where they stand on recruiters, what kinds of tactics they will continue to use, and what their goals are. This seems to me the best of direct, forceful resistance to military recruitment:

Recently, a prominent military recruiter in Pittsburgh stated that POG has “crossed the line” and “one too far” in opposing military recruitment in the city. He stated that over the last two years recruiters have been pied, the door to the station blocked, broken and decorated on multiple occasions, and the station’s signs have been thrown in the trash. For the sake of honesty, we must admit that POG has not organized any of those particular actions, but who are we to turn down a compliment?

Since he brought it up, we felt we should address the issue of “lines” for the edification of the local recruitment apparatus. Recruiters will have stopped “crossing the line” when they find a new “job”, accept some responsibility for the pain, grief, suffering, and death they have made possible, and begin working for peace and justice for the people of the United States and Iraq. We do not respect military recruiters. We do not appreciate their work. All that is necessary for recruiters to get out of recruiting is to miss their quotas. We have no sympathy for their situation; they receive safety and extra privileges in a volunteer army through participating in the key system that ensures our government can continue to negatively project its power at the expense of the people of the world. We believe they should be confronted and the community should make them answer for the human and material loss our city has suffered. We always hold out the hope that they can change and we continue to believe dialogue is a positive thing. The second they suspend their harmful actions, we are prepared to sit down and dialogue.

Read the rest of their statement here. The similarities between the POG’s tactics, and the resulting pleas from military recruiters, to the anarchist-led counter-recruitment efforts in Kansas are striking. The POG also say their actions, including when they shut down a recruitment center in January, have been met with increasing police harassment.

Army Strong or Army Wrong?

February 22, 2007

recruiting.jpg

Last October the Army changed its slogan from “An Army of One” to “Army Strong,” spending millions of dollars to create and promote the new recruitment campaign.

In its battle to win the hearts and minds of recruiting-age Americans, the Army is replacing its main ad slogan — “An Army of One” — with one it hopes will pack more punch: “Army Strong.”

The new approach, the fruit of a $200 million-a-year contract with a major advertising agency, was announced Monday by Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey. He said “Army Strong” will be the centerpiece of a multimedia ad campaign to be launched Nov. 9, timed to coincide with Veterans Day weekend.

Army officials acknowledge that recruiting during wartime is difficult, particularly with the Iraq war grinding on far longer than Bush administration officials expected and U.S. troops dying in battle almost every day.

“There’s no question that we want to have a marketing boost right now, it’s important to us,” said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, who oversees the recruiting effort as commander of U.S. Army Accessions Command.

An anonymous psychological operations specialist at Fort Bragg told the Fayetteville Observer, “Army Strong is a weak attempt to recruit,” said a psychological operations specialist from Fort Bragg who asked that his name not be used. “‘An Army of One’ was bad and ‘Army Strong’ is just as bad. They spent too much money on it, money that could have been spent on people who are already being strong.”

In a January 29 story, the USA Today took a closer look at the Army’s latest marketing efforts (I added in the links):

Details on the tactics it’s using:

Story-telling streaming video. Goarmy.com/strong now has video profiles of 10 soldiers. Users can click on the soldiers’ images, which include a Blackhawk pilot and a sniper, to hear his or her personal story.

Interactive MySpace.com profile. The profile has emotional “Army Strong” themed videos, photos that show real overseas soldiers, and a button to download the Army’s online video game, America’s Army.

•Revving up one-on-one recruiting. Interested recruits can send instant messages to virtual recruiter “Sgt. Star,” who has built-in answers to frequently asked questions. The Army also has chat rooms with real recruiters.

There are also marketing messages targeted to “influencers” such as parents or school counselors. Parents, in particular, “can be the barrier” to recruitment, says Markus.

“A kid will get to a recruiting station, and they’ll go home, and a parent will say, ‘over my dead body,’ because of the state of things,” he says. “We had to educate them about the kind of strength their child is going to attain when they become a soldier in the U.S. Army.”

While Markus acknowledges, “It’s not a popular war,” the ads were “liked a lot” or “liked somewhat” by more than half of those polled for USA TODAY’s weekly Ad Track survey. However, the 17% who liked the ads a lot fell under the Ad Track survey average for that response, which is 21%.

[…]

“I don’t think you can deny what’s going on in the world,” says Markus. “The only way to deal with that is to be as truthful as possible.”

Both spokesmen for the Army quoted in these articles claimed that despite the massive spending on marketing, military recruiters are still upfront about the harsh reality of military service. Lt. Gen. Van Antwerp, who oversees the Army’s recuiting efforts, told the AP in the first article referred to above that “every recruiter will tell you, there is a very strong likelihood that you’re going to deploy.” That’s funny because barely a month after the Army introduced the new slogan, some undercover work by ABC-7 in New York found that a sample of military recruiters, across the board, were being anything but honest with students posing as potential recruits.

It appears some Army recruiters are willing to say just about anything to reel-in a new soldier.

Student: “Will I be going to war?”
Recruiter: “I would say your chances would be slim to none …”

We sent students undercover to ten Army recruiting offices throughout the Tri-State area.

Recruiter: “We almost welcome being shot at because it helps us identify where they are shooting from …”

Some recruiters were up front about the dangers of enlisting.

Stamford recruiter: “Every job in the Army does include combat. Plain and simple.”

But nearly half of the recruiters who talked to our undercover students compared everyday risks here at home to being in Iraq.

Elizabeth recruiter: “I like Subway sandwiches and salads. I watched the news yesterday, a guy got killed at Subway.”

Patchogue recruiter: “You have a 10-times greater chance of dying out here on the roads than you do dying in Iraq.”

Mt. Vernon recruiter: “I’d rather be hit by a car instead of getting hit by a bomb, what’s the difference. Your not living, your dead. That sucker is gone it’s a wrap.”

The article goes on to list even more ridiculous quotes from military recruiters.

Texans for Peace has launched http://armywrong.net as a counter to the new slogan. There are parts of the site that don’t appear to be finished, but it looks like a good resource for counter-recruiters. While it may not be the product of millions of dollars of marketing research, it does highlight a different side of the Army:

ArmyWrong is a new front in an escalating insurgency to counter the $200 million per year the Army spends on campaigns squarely aimed at the youth of America–packed with images of power and hyped across the full media spectrum.

This nationwide effort, led by Texans for Peace, battles growing militarism while also pointing out how today’s military-industrial complex “perverts the ideals of Democracy, Freedom, Justice and Liberty,” says Charlie Jackson, ArmyWrong creator.

In the tradition of Vietnam-era satire, ArmyWrong turns military slogans on their face. “There’s Wrong and There’s Army Wrong” is the motto of the new campaign. The project’s website and materials heap payloads of satire and humor on military issues ranging from daily army life to the lack of volunteers from neoconservative groups.

But make no mistake, counter-recruiting efforts like ArmyWrrong are hoping to do something more serious … obstruct the creeping militarism of America and war policies by encouraging youth to find other forms of service.

“There’s strong and then there’s Army Strong. The strength to do good today.
The strength to do well tomorrow. There is nothing on this green earth that
is stronger than the U.S. Army,” the Army’s new slogan announces.

“Wrong”, say faith communities, schools and educators, active and retired military, and peace organizations. There are many things stronger they remind Americans; trust, integrity, kindness, friendship, and love, to name but a few. These groups, working together, will be using ArmyWrong to take command of high ground dialogues with the nation’s youth and their families.

What do you think about the Army’s slogan? How should counter-recruiters respond? Comments are welcome.

737 US military bases around the world

February 19, 2007

An excerpt of Chalmers Johnson’s Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, posted on Alternet.org, details the growth of US military bases built on foreign soil which play host to at least 196,975 uniformed personnel serving abroad. The article claims that more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel in total are deployed internationally, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military recruiters often advertise these foreign military bases as fun post-graduation destinations for young people here. A Navy recruiter at a community college once told me that if I enlisted I could pay for college easily as well as “gain international experience” and live on a base in Germany, for example. Military recruiters, of course, are unlikely to mention that these bases frequently provoke popular resentment against the United States (recently in Italy and elsewhere). Or that, as Johnson argues, these bases are instruments of worldwide US hegemony.

Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. America’s version of the colony is the military base; and by following the changing politics of global basing, owne can learn much about our ever more all-encompassing imperial “footprint” and the militarism that grows with it.

It is not easy, however, to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records available to the public on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department’s annual inventories from 2002 to 2005 of real property it owns around the world, the Base Structure Report, there has been an immense churning in the numbers of installations.

The total of America’s military bases in other people’s countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737. Reflecting massive deployments to Iraq and the pursuit of President Bush’s strategy of preemptive war, the trend line for numbers of overseas bases continues to go up.

Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 — mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets — almost exactly equals Britain’s thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

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Army issuing more waivers for criminal history

February 15, 2007

There are innumerable problems with the justice system in this country, so while we don’t assume a felony conviction or misdemeanor necessarily corresponds with actual criminality and/or moral ineptitude, as the author seems to imply, this front-page article from yesterday’s New York Times does indicate the lengths to which the Army is going to maintain its recruitment rate. In 2006 1 in 5 Army recruits required a waiver, in contrast to a 12.7% waiver rate in 2003, the year the invasion of Iraq began.

Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ

graph.jpgThe number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown about 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Department of Defense records show.

During that time, the Army has employed a variety of tactics to expand its diminishing pool of recruits. It has offered larger enlistment cash bonuses, allowed more high school dropouts and applicants with low scores on its aptitude test to join, and loosened weight and age restrictions.

It has also increased the number of so-called “moral waivers” to recruits with criminal pasts, even as the total number of recruits dropped slightly. The sharpest increase was in waivers for serious misdemeanors, which make up the bulk of all the Army’s moral waivers. These include aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide.

The number of waivers for felony convictions also increased, to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006, from 8 percent.

Waivers for less serious crimes like traffic offenses and drug use have dropped or remained stable.

The Army enlisted 69,395 men and women last year.

While soldiers with criminal histories made up only 11.7 percent of the Army recruits in 2006, the spike in waivers raises concerns about whether the military is making too many exceptions to try to meet its recruitment demands in a time of war. Most felons, for example, are not permitted to carry firearms, and many criminals have at some point exhibited serious lapses in discipline and judgment, traits that are far from ideal on the battlefield.

The military automatically excludes people who have committed certain crimes. They include drug traffickers, recruits who have more than one felony on their record or people who have committed sexually violent crimes. A felony is defined as a crime that carries a sentence of a year or more in prison.

Bill Carr, the under secretary of military personnel policy, said the military granted waivers selectively and scrutinized a recruit’s full record, the nature of the crime, when it was committed, the degree of rehabilitation and references from teachers, employers, coaches and clergy members.

In many cases, Mr. Carr said, the applicant may have committed the crime at a young age and then stayed out of trouble. To his knowledge, he said, recruits who are issued moral waivers are not tracked once inside the military.

“If the community backs them, we are willing to take a hard look,” Mr. Carr said, referring to the waiver process, which includes checks of local, state and federal records.

The majority of moral waivers are for serious misdemeanors, most often committed by juveniles. As Douglas Smith, the public information officer for the Army’s recruiting command, said, “We understand that people make mistakes in their lives and they can overcome those mistakes.”

Fewer than 3 in 10 people ages 17 to 24 are fully qualified to join the Army. That means they have a high school diploma, have met aptitude test score requirements and fitness levels, and would not be barred for medical reasons, their sexual orientation or their criminal histories.

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Counter-recruitment in Oregon

February 10, 2007

353852thumb.jpgFolks in Portland shut down an Army recruiting center yesterday:

‘Surge Protection Brigade’ Continues Its Friday Protests

By Kristian Foden-Vencil

PORTLAND, OR 2007-02-09 A group calling itself ‘The Surge Protection Brigade’ picketed outside a military recruitment center in Portland again Friday.

Last week, six women were arrested for blocking access to the center.

Cristy Murray says about 30 people are in their fourth week of Friday protests.

Cristy Murray: “We were hoping to be able to go in and talk to the recruiters again, that’s kind of our hope every week. They’ve so far been unwilling to have a conversation with us. So we just stand in front of the education center and try to educate people walking by, and try to prevent any more kids from going inside and being recruited.”

A sign at the recruitment center says it is closed. The Surge Protection Brigade’s main aim is to protest the president’s plan to surge more troops into Iraq.

In a Portland IMC report back, one activist writes: “There was something really, powerfully inspiring about seeing the steel awning pulled down over the exposed windows at the recruiting office, and the apologetic little sign hastily taped up on the door, informing passersby that the office was closed. It was like looking at a white flag.”

In Salem, a military recruitment display was “damaged” and blocked with antiwar signs:

Recruitment center display damaged; antiwar signs added

BY RUTH LIAO
Statesman Journal
February 10, 2007

An Armed Forces recruiting station in northeast Salem reported damage to its display sign Friday, Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

The damage had occurred between Wednesday evening and Friday morning at the station, 3060 Lancaster Drive NE, spokesman Deputy Kevin Rau said. All branches of the American military jointly operate in that office.

Two handmade signs made of red poster board that said “Stop Illegal and Immoral War” had been hung up near the station’s lighted glass sign, Marine Corps spokesman Sgt. Chris Berryman said.

The recruiting sign is flanked by two lighted American flags, where the homemade signs were placed. Damage was found to one of the American flag signs, Berryman said.

[…]

There are no suspects. Marion County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, Berryman said an incident of vandalism was reported to law enforcement when government-owned vehicles parked in front of the recruiting station were found with slashed tires. No suspects were identified, officials said.

Anarchists confront military recruiters in Kansas

February 8, 2007

From Kansas City Indymedia: David Strano of Kansas Mutual Aid wrote in December of seemingly successful militant tactics againt military recruiters there. While many activists around the country, including here in Austin, have focused their counter-recuiting efforts on opposing military recruiters inside schools and other instituitons, the experience of activists in Lawrence demonstrates that everyday targeted resistance to recruiters can be effective.

Keeping the Pressure On: Lawrence anarchists fight against Military Recruitment

by Dave Strano, Kansas Mutual Aid
December 22, 2006

During a counter-recruitment protest outside of the Lawrence Army/Navy Career Center on Saturday December 16th, the small group of us that had showed up were confronted by a Naval officer. The sailor introduced himself as being an acting supervisor of U.S. Naval recruitment for the Kansas and Missouri area. He proceeded to have a 45 minute discussion with us about our counter-recruitment efforts, police enforcement, life in the military, and the war in Iraq.

His words conveyed a clear message: Of all the recruitment centers under his command, the one in Lawrence was facing major trouble from protesters and dissidents. “Over the last four years,” he said, “it has been a living hell here… We’ve had to install bomb-proof glass, security alarms and panic buttons, internal security cameras… I’ve had my tires slashed and car painted on… People come inside our center and vandalize it in front of us… We’ve had to shut down on more than one occasion because of you people blocking our doors… Our offices get vandalized at least once a month… We’ve had to replace our locks more times than I can count… Nearly our entire recruitment budget for this year has gone to security.”

His intentions for saying this weren’t clear, but he certainly was who he said he was; his interaction with the other recruiters there confirmed this. His words ended with a plea for us to stop. Almost an order coming from a failing commander: Leave us alone.

The anarchist movement in Lawrence, Kansas has been working against local military recruiting efforts since before the invasion of Iraq. For four years, various actions have occurred outside and inside the military recruiting centers, on the campus of the University of Kansas, and outside and inside Lawrence’s high schools. In those four years, a variety of disruptive tactics have been used. These tactics have ranged from lockdowns to office occupations, to vocal sign holding to wheatepasting and other more direct actions.

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Military considers recruiting foreigners

February 6, 2007

Counterrecruiter.net is back, after an almost year-long hiatus. Thanks to Josh and the folks at NYC Indymedia for creating this site and helping it get back on its feet. The counter-recruitment movement is very much alive and we’re going to do our best to cover it, but we have a bit of catch-up to do.   You may or may not see a few more changes in the site’s appearance and layout in an the coming days.

Here’s some news from late December, via the War Resisters’ League:

Military considers recruiting foreigners
Expedited citizenship would be an incentive

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | December 26, 2006

WASHINGTON — The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks — including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer — according to Pentagon officials.

Foreign citizens serving in the US military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans’ willingness to serve in uniform.

The idea of signing up foreigners who are seeking US citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

The proposal to induct more noncitizens, which is still largely on the drawing board, has to clear a number of hurdles. So far, the Pentagon has been quiet about specifics — including who would be eligible to join, where the recruiting stations would be, and what the minimum standards might involve, including English proficiency. In the meantime, the Pentagon and immigration authorities have expanded a program that accelerates citizenship for legal residents who volunteer for the military.

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