Yankee Sailor - Just What Rumsfeld Ordered
Yankee Sailor is an active-duty Navy surface warfare officer (and blogger), exactly the type of military leader we depend on to win the Global War on Terrorism. And his response to our concerns about military recruiting explains why America is successfully achieving all of our national objectives:
OYE: For years, the Pentagon limited Category IV recruits (the lowest passing grade) to 2% of the annual cohort; this was doubled to 4% recently.
Yankee Sailor: Whoa, that sounds ominous. That is until you take the time to put down your raspberry chai and almond cinnamon biscotti and actually do some research.
From 1991-2003 and the post-Cold War drawdown, Cat-IV recruits have made up 1% or less of all enlistees, so raising the ceiling to 4% sounds like a crisis. The fact is, however, from 1981-1990, Cat-IVs made up from 4% to just over 21% of enlistees, and the number of enlistees from the lowest category peaked out under Jimmy Carter in 1979 at a stunning 32.74% (with America involved in no extended conflicts around the world). Suddenly a ceiling of 4%, while certainly increasing, is not exactly alarming.
OYE Response: I thought only the liberal media tried to lie with statistics. Given the constant evolution of and rapid turnover in our military, Carter Administration enlistment data are completely irrelevant today. [They've done their twenty already.] The 1991-2003 enlistees (of whom less than 1% were Category IV - click here) have done great things in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Would you want a high percentage of Category IVs in your unit? Or are you trying to ignore the problem in the hope it will just go away?
OYE: In October 2005, 12% of that month's recruits were Category IV. The Pentagon refuses to disclose the exact double-digit percentage for November; who knows what it is now?
Yankee Sailor: And it may or may not be relevant by itself, because it's unlikely October's cohort is a representative sample of the entire year's cohort of recruits. Statisticians would call that an "outlier."
OYE Response: We agree that the October figure may or may not be relevant by itself, precisely because we don't expect the October cohort to be a representative sample of the entire year's recruits. We'd accept your characterization of the October figure as an "outlier" if the Pentagon would release the same information for November, January, February, and now March. Statisticians would not call it an "outlier" without that information; neither should you.
Yankee Sailor: Thank you for playing, try again!
OYE Response: I certainly expect higher quality reasoning supporting the decisions you make on the job to defend our nation. If this is a representative example of your command style, no wonder recruiting is such a challenge. Thank you.