Friday, November 25, 2005


Army Quotas…

Despite what all the naysayers have said, the Army is pretty close to meeting its quotas. That would normally be a reason for celebration considering that we are in the middle of an unpopular war. And most normal people are not exactly rushing up to join the military when they know that their next duty station might see bullets whizzing by their heads. .

. However, while most of us are being lulled by gross numbers that on the surface look very encouraging, the truth is actually somewhat different. To understand why, the casual observer needs to know how these somewhat obscure numbers are arrived at.

In the most general terms, the quota is a product of the Pentagon analysts working to estimate what the numbers have to be to sustain a viable military on the ground. These numbers are the total of all of the military’s projections for the numbers needed in each of the military specialties that make up the MOS system. Many of those jobs reflect highly specialized job occupations. .

Therefore, the total quota is made up of all of the number of required GI's in each of the required military specialties. Okay, assuming that you are with me to this point, while the gross numbers look promising, they do not reflect the fact that there are dangerous gaps in specialized military occupations that are not nearly at the point of being filled. To correct this discrepancy, the government feels it is okay to move those in less specialized MOS’s to fill in the gaps. What this tends to do is mask the fact that that there are dangerous short-falls in those specialized military jobs that require a high skill level and that problem is pernicious and across the board.

Therefore, what the government is doing has the effect of filling the required categories but it is with the objective of providing a level of comfort which is totally unjustfied. . It does not solve the problem but allows observers to believe that the needs are not as critical as they really are. To make matters worse, recruiters have been authorized to lower standards allowing the ranks to be filled by less qualified candidates.

In those cases where essential specialties must be filled, the military has been able to meet its targets using the expedient of major sign up bonuses that may total as much as $150,000.

Officials are saying off the record that such tactics constitute a long term crap shoot that's predicated on the fact that these important recruitment short-falls will not be felt because enough GI's will have been drawn off from Iraq so that it won't show up.

Whether this will turn out to be the case based on needs and contingencies is yet unknown. But if the military guesses wrong and they are there for the ‘long-haul,’ the weaknesses in military specialties could turn out to be a two edged sword that endangers the entire mission contributing to unnecessary deaths and increased risk.

Les Aaron
The Ubiquitous Flying Blue Blog

Les Aaron
The Ubiquitous Flying Blue Blog
Politics Blog Top Sites


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