Thursday, July 22, 2004

Somehow the US military always seems to find just one more tactic to bring in more troops for Iraq that is more desperate than the last.
In what critics say is another sign of increasing stress on the military, the Army has been forced to bring more new recruits immediately into the ranks to meet recruiting goals for 2004, instead of allowing them to defer entry until the next accounting year, which starts in October.

As a result, recruiters will enter the new year without the usual cushion of incoming soldiers, making it that much harder to make their quotas for 2005. Instead of knowing the names of nearly half the coming year's expected arrivals in October, as the Army did last year, or even the names of around one in three, as is the normal goal, this October the recruiting command will have identified only about one of five of the boot camp class of 2005 in advance. . . .

"I worry about this every single day - recruiting and retention," said General Hagenbeck, who commanded forces in Afghanistan in his previous assignment. "We are recruiting a volunteer force during a time of war. We've never done that before."
When does this end? There are three possibilities, from least to most likely: [1] dramatic reduction in troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan before the end of 2005, eliminating high troop demand; [2] dramatic crash in the US job market, generating higher troop supply; or [3] military draft in 2004.

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