Wednesday, April 19, 2006
As I mentioned yesterday, with Holy Joe doing the shuffle and jive for the White House as it rumbles about military action in Iran, one has to wonder where are they going to find soldiers if it comes to on-the-ground efforts. The military is having a difficult enough time maintaining forces as it is.
One answer: lowering admissions standards, including raising the age of recruits...
A U.S. military advisor and former combat officer is troubled by recent reports that the Army has had to lower recruiting standards to meet its quotas.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis says after missing last year's goal by 7,000 recruits, the Army is going to have a tough time reaching is fiscal year 2006 goal of 80,000 new soldiers. Still, he is not happy about what the branch has had to do to fill its ranks. "It means that 2,500 of the people this year that we'll recruit are getting in basically with waivers of the old standards," the Pentagon advisor says. "However, in order to fill the ranks of 80,000 this year, it's become necessary to take some action. We're also recruiting an older population -- bringing in people in their early 40s to basic training. I don't understand why this nation has to revert to that."
Although these older recruits are "probably reasonably healthy," Maginnis notes, "by the time you're that old, you're older than most of the drill sergeants that are trying to run you through basic training, and the idea that we're going to be fighting wars with 45-year-old infantry privates just seems to be a bit ludicrous to me." It is unfortunate that the U.S. Army has had to "change the standards in order to get the numbers," the Lt. Colonel says, "but that's what happens in a volunteer force." Maginnis also points out that, besides accepting older recruits, the Army has lately been issuing recruits more waivers for criminal convictions, drug use, and medical conditions.