US woos soldiers with early exit

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by BRIAN, May 21, 2005.

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  1. FROM BBC news website...

    "US woos soldiers with early exit

    New recruiting posters and adverts may be appearing soon
    Faced with a drastic shortage of recruits, the US Army has widened a scheme to offer would-be soldiers the option to sign up for just 15 months.
    The minimum period a recruit can usually enlist for is four years.

    But in an attempt to help recruiters meet their quotas, the army has announced the 15-month active service programme will be launched nationwide.

    The recruiters have been struggling to meet targets as the Iraq war continues with ever-rising US casualties.

    Targets missed

    Chief of army recruiting Maj Gen Michael Rochelle admitted the military was encountering the "toughest recruiting climate we've ever faced in the all-volunteer army".

    The army managed only 68% of its target in March and 73% in February, and provisional figures for April also showed a shortfall, a Pentagon spokesman said.

    The last time a monthly quota was missed was in May 2000.

    Under the 15-month plan, which was previously run as a pilot scheme in a few recruiting stations, enlistees will continue to be able to sign up for an eight-year commitment.

    But after training, they will be able to serve for as little as 15 months on active duty followed by two years in the National Guard or Army Reserve.

    They can serve the remainder of their eight-year term in the active or inactive reserves or in programmes such as Americorps or the Peace Corps.

    Jim Martin, a retired army officer who teaches military culture at Bryn Mawr College, told USA Today parents and teachers "see the army as a real risk, a real danger" because of the war in Iraq.

    The war was a bigger factor than the length of service in finding recruits, he said.

    David Segal, a military personnel expert at the University of Maryland, told the newspaper that 15 months was often not enough time to learn complex tasks in a high-tech army.

    However, recruiters themselves are reportedly being boosted in numbers at the Pentagon and new advertising and other publicity efforts are also planned.

    Altogether, the army hopes to win 80,000 recruits over the US fiscal year, lasting from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005. "

    It seems that the US Army is having real recruiting problems, to be honest i see this as a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the current problem it faces. Surely if this proves to be real option then it will cause many new recruits to take a "suck it and see" mentality to the army. I consider that this idea is tantamount to voluntary conscription. 3 months training then "364 and a wake up" in an active theatre. This then surely creating the problems that the US Army faced post Vietnam through out its NCO corps, that was to an extent non existant. Something that took nearly 20 years to put right up till GW1.

    How will this strategy help the US to build up a modern force capable of dealing with the trials of peace keeping and fighting the "insurgant" when a number of its personel are on their first tour and straight from initial training where i doubt if they were truely taught how to fight the form of warfare they face.

    From what evidence i have seen from the conflict it appears that the US is fighting under the wrong doctrine and is slowly realising this. I also beleive that it fails to be a sufficiently flexible force to deal with the daily challenges it faces. Something i believe is due to its beleif in mission control ad the comander on the ground be unable to use his discretion and judgment.

    It would be interesting to hear others views, to see if iam talking utter nonsense.

    As a sideline "Amarillo" brilliant, what are peoples views of morale in the British Army at the moment after this in the press and the VC being awarded. Is recruiting a problem at the mo, it is not my area.
  2. It is a rather curious way of combating recruitment issues. I am having a hard time seeing that this idea will do much to help in the long run. Possibly some individuals whom saw the military as a long term career might reconsider joining up at all if they think it will be full of short stay "commitmentphobes" whom can leave if it all gets a bit much after seeing active duty. The training these short stay recruits would receive would have to be altered in some way to reduce the time spent in training would it not? If so what will be cut back on and what effect will that have once they are deployed?

    Could this also conceiveably have a negative effect on existing personnel? Being forced by circumstance to continuously train and work with (read constantly shepherd) inexperienced personnel, without ever really gaining experienced soldiers from it, would surely cause some to say "stuff this for a joke" and leave.

    I could also be talking complete b0ll0cks and it will be a great programme that boosts recruitment, turns out personnel ready and willing to serve of their own choice and give the existing military personnel a much needed breathing space from constantly being deployed.

    I am also rather interested in what exactly are the monthly quota figures and whether in fact they are a tad optimistic.
  3. The monthly quotas average 6500 a month or 80,000 yearly. Retention bonus' have been authorized. For example Warrant Officers that agree to
    stay can receive up to $48,000 for 3 years additional service. The bonus is paid out at the rate of $16,000 annually. Soldiers that ship out for basic early can receive more bonus money.
  4. Golden hand shakes basically
  5. I propose to our American friends to restore draft. But only for 6 months and service should be in non-combatant areas. So anybody who would like to be in professional army would be at least trained.

    Another measure: step by step new taxes should be introduced for those who didn't serve his 6 months, especially for students (payment for them should be doubled).

    Many in USA are dreaming about 'Ivy League'. Remember, poor Jessica wanted to be a teacher, to be learned in any university.

    New soldiers should be attracted by perspective to be educated in good, even very good universities. So American army would be filled with intellectuals and it is very important.

    One thing is obvious. As Iraqi was shows, current American system is not working. Soldiers in American army are from the most poor fractions of American society and it has its negative consequences.
  6. To add a bit of meat on to this storey i just saw a news story, in which a recruiter so desperate to fulfil his quota of recruits for the month was duped by a student reporter from the local high school...

    The kid told the recruiter that he had flunked high school and then developed a hard drug addiction, however he wanted to join the military. The recruiter told the kid to get on the internet and buy a fake high school diploma and then come and see him and they will go to the drug store together so he can buy a kit that will prevent his hard drug use from showing up on any tests. These activities the boy has recorded on audio tape and camcorder.

    This whole incident resulted in all the recruiting stations in the US closing down for a day for their procedure to be analysed. I find the thought of finding US army recruiters activly recruiting from high schools disturbing.

    here is more on the storey:

    Check out the US armys new uniform on the brass in the picture...

    Whatever happened to army recruiters of olde sliping "the Kings Shilling" into your flagoon of ale when you were nt looking when you were down the "wig and pen" on a saturday afternoon after church.
  7. And the Russia army is full of intellectuals?

    According to Valery Astanin, chief of the GOMU department for conscription and recruitment, the main contingent of young men recruited to the army do not have secondary technical education, and in some cases even elementary education.
  8. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    The US army already has an excellent exit package for even the kids that do 3 yrs. I have one lad who will be leaving at the 3 yr mark. He is entitled to a educational fund of a little over $50000 which will be paid for educational costs only and as long as he keeps passing the exams. His life is planned out for the next few years already. He is Infantry.

    On Brian's earlier comment on doctrine - this is something I have had to deal wtih and he is right to say the US Army is on catchup. They are really hampered with their technology and "mass" based doctrinal position. During some work I was doing, I found is that the US Army whilst having publications on anti-guerrilla operations have not had a COIN doctrine before. The SF (various) and Marines did but the cross pollination of ideas in these organisations to the Army is less than you would hope (USMC and Army get along and do things the same - don't be stupid! :lol: )

    The US Army put out their first (interim) COIN field manual, written very hastily, last autumn. It has not yet become an official publication but can be found on the net (look for FM 3-07.22 dated 1 Oct 04). It would appear that they have taken the basic ideas from UK and SF, tried to mix them together and then change them to suit the authors own ideas.

    Frankly, it's a mess.

    We all know well that doctrine leads to training requirements. Remembering that a US infantry soldier gets 14 wks training before he is fit for unit/deployment. That includes GW basic infantry tactics.

    Compare UK training (was 24 wks when I last looked) and then the soldier will normally get a unit beat up "to bring him up to scratch". Then add 30 years of lessons learnt from NI and the host of other COIN campaigns in our colonial days, already fundemantally part of our training, which gives knowledge of the need to major in cultural understanding when involved in COIN. It all adds up to a far more mature COIN approach, something the US is finding out the hard way it is lacking in.

    Sadly, it is not likely that the US Military is going to be able to change to the fundemental extent it needs to in the short term but at least it has identified the need to change. A major problem is US national cultural limitations - if you don't believe me, spend an informative hour watching FOX News -scary some of the opinions 8O
  10. Didn't UK also facing a recruitment shortfall too?

    Anyways if you look at the figures:

    US recruiting goal: 80,000 yearly (6,666 per month)
    UK recruiting goal: 15,000 yearly (1,250 per month)

    However our population pool percentage is about the same.

    US population: 296 million*
    US manpower availability 18-49 68 million* (males) 0.23%

    UK population: 60 million*
    UK military manpower availability 16-49 14* million (males) 0.23%

    Source: CIA World Facts
    * rounded to the whole million

    Considering that the US Army met its recruiting goals for the past 5 years and has hit a bump now doesn't mean that policies are ineffective and soldiers are incompetent. Would you say the same thing about the British Army and how it did not meet its recruitment goals?

    The fact that the US Army is looking to other means is similar to what the Brits did with their campaign to increase recruitment.
  11. Dear Roxygirl!

    You are absolutely right. There are huge problems in Russian army with conscript. And Russia is not so rich to have pure professional army. Current Russian situation can't be used as a model. It is widely criticised inside Russia. Personally I stay for Swiss or Finnish way.

    Yeah so in Finland, they send them home from conscription for internet addicition.

    Conscription is going the way of communism, France and Spain have phased it out. Italy will in 2006. Germany is reducing time.

    Anyways when was Switzerland involved in a war?

    However Switzerland also faces problems with conscription.

    A significant number of young males chooses to avoid military service by visiting a doctor who attests to their incapability to do military service on medical grounds.

    Conscription is not the way forward and adding incentives for recruitment is and we are addressing that.

    The fact is that you want the soldier to stay in the Army for an extended period of time not for short periods. We actually save money with a volunteer army.

    At expert appraisals, although the transition to a contract army in the US led to a considerable rise in costs of the item "maintenance of personnel", from 5.6% to 19% (cf.: up to 70% of costs is spent to maintain personnel in the Russian Armed Forces), all the same it is cheaper than an army of conscripts. American generals say: the maintenance of Armed Forces of the same level of effectiveness, but formed by conscription, would cost the US $2.5 billion a year more

    Even in civilian workforce, companies don't want to hire employees for 6 months, they're looking for long term and so is the US Army.
  12. Dear Roxygirl!

    I like this sort of discussion (with facts, serious arguments, concrete examples). I at least shifted my point of view (if not changed). So some thought below is not an attempt to catch at straw but rather a material for discussion (in fact I agree with many your points)..

    1. Main objective of each army is defence of country. So absence of wars can't be used as proof of weakness. Switzerland with only professional (but small) army would be captured by Hitler no doubt.

    2. Example of Israel proves that conscript would not lead unconditionally to weak army. Moreover, I think that taking into account population of Israel, IDF is the strongest army in the World (after British army of course).

    3. There is a big difference between American and British armed forces. For example British forces technically could be withdrawn fron Iraq within few weeks if (God save the UK!) something like Falklands crisis would emerge. By contrast, USA haven't such an option. It is obvious that returning of American troops from Iraq is not possible in near future. So even one new big crisis (in Iran for example) would be a too big burden.

    4. 6 months is a big enough time interval to prepare a soldier from a civil man and not too big to be cause to emmigrate to Canada. Anyway professional army should spend time and money for preparation of soldiers without conscript. I think that officers would prefer to see not 'green kids' but those who know exactly what this word 'army' means.

    5. Do you think that Jessica Lynch is an ideal soldier and that American generals are dreaming about new such brave women-warriors? Really woman in army should be rather an exception, not a rule. Women (in my imaginary plan) can join professional army but only 6 moths without any payment.
  13. Few problems here.

    How many "American" service folks are serving?

    Roxygirl said
    Might be true but how many of the US are fighting for Uncle SAM?

    Just taken a course with a few (course of 12- 8 SPAMS, 2 Jerries and 2 Brits – except that three of the Americans serving did not have American citizenship. No they were from the Philippines, Guam and Mexico.)

    So uncle SAM is hiring out “big time” – no American wants to die for his/her country. No trick a spick to die for you!.

    Even the Mexican on the course stated that “In Basic his Drill Sgt’s were all Mexican and waiting for their green card” and “ We had a Mexican Troop as we “don Hablo Inglesi””

    More I see the USA is the Rome of 2000 years ago, just take a few Goths and Franks (or Chinese or Indians “sub-continent”) and it’s a fallin.
  14. The US is a country with a history of immigrants. 1 in 6 Americans are not native born in the States.

    There are about 30,000 non-Americans serving in the US military, with 499,000 active, that's only about 6% of the America. Hardly a crisis of mercenaries taking over the US army and most have a chance to become citizens after their military service is over.

    However, the fact that non-Americans have been involved in the US military isn't new.

    Irish immigrants fought in the Civil War. During World War II, more than 100,000 non-citizens enlisted, most from Europe.

    This is certainly not exclusive to the US. I believe that the British Army has Ghurkas and they’re not native British either.
  15. Tovarishch,

    I think something shifted in your lateral ventricles.

    1. Hitler is dead you dik. Get a life.

    2. A large amount of eligible males scarper to other countries to avoid their service. I do not have official figures. There were at least 300 of them at the university I attended whom openly said "my parents pulled me out of there so I didn't have to serve and I'm here doing this course to avoid serving." They also have girls on the conscript base you dik. Get a life.

    3. Well derrr! That is a "no brainer" you dik. Get a life.

    4. B0ll0x. Any form of forced military service creates a culture of individuals attempting to avoid it by any means you dik. Get a life.

    5. Whatever you are taking either stop taking it or up the dose dramatically. Cannot see any spam generals "dreaming" about "women warriors" unless it is Zena. Either you have women in on same labour terms or you do not have them at all you dik. Get a life.

    ...oh and a better online translator site.