Tomorrow's Army: at your Recruiting Station Today
It's even worse than we thought. Not only did our Army miss its annual recruiting quota by the largest shortfall (7,000) since 1979, but look at the compromises (recruiting waivers) they made to come this close:
Serious criminal misconduct: 630 in FY-2005, up from 408 in FY-2004.
Misdemeanors (not necessarily serious): 4,587 in FY-2005, up from 3,667 in FY-2004.
Alcohol and illegal drugs (failing test during enlistment processing): 737 in FY-2005, up from 650 in FY-2004. [A waiver is required to wait 45 days to try again.]
Total enlistments: 73,000 in FY-2005 and 77,000 in FY-2004.
Any one of these waivers is not necessarily a problem. Like President Bush, many good soldiers, when they were young and irresponsible, were young and irresponsible. Cumulatively, however, one should be very worried. As a group, soldiers who earn high school diplomas and have no crime or drug problems are more likely to complete their enlistments successfully.
It is those quality soldiers recruited over the last ten years (through FY-2004) who have accomplished great things for our nation.
Today's recruits will make up the noncommissioned officer corps starting around 2010 and throughout that decade. And, with all due respect to the patriotism of today's recruits, including the 90+% without waivers, these trends aren't looking very good.
So, where is our governing party in all this? Will they fulfill their national leadership responsibility to set a good example for the rest of us? How about you, Henry Hager? Don't you really want to Serve America, while Supporting The President?
Hat tip to AmericaBlog's Chris in Paris.
PS. Well, as long as they aren't homosexual, we can count on our Army to maintain good order and discipline, right?