The U.S. military is having a major problem recruiting new troops, notes Nan Levinson in an informative piece at TomDispatch.com. As usual, the military has tried most everything. Lowering standards, especially on the ASVAB test. Boosting bonuses and benefits. Infiltrating high school (even grade schools!) with military programs tied to recruitment like Junior ROTC. More money for ad campaigns, using celebrities and catchy slogans. Hoopla at sports stadiums. Nothing’s worked.
But, being an out-of-the-Pentagon-box thinker, I have the solution: Downsize the military!
Why does America need a large standing Army given all the force-multipliers we’re buying for hundreds of billions of dollars each year? What large-scale war is America currently fighting? We pulled out of Afghanistan, out of Iraq (mostly), and should be downsizing our imperial footprint (or bootprint, if you prefer).
I know: Russia! China! We must be prepared!
Those seeking a conventional war with either of those two land powers in their spheres of influence should surely have their sanity checked. Land war in Asia? With nuclear powers? No thank you!
Come on, America. If fewer young Americans want to join the US military, take this as a sign of the wisdom of youth. Wisdom of youth – a phrase not commonly seen, but possibly of great relevance to us all, as Levinson notes in her conclusion.
Want a better military with higher-quality recruits? Simply recruit fewer of them by being more selective and by downsizing inflated recruitment numbers. In other words, change the metrics to show a recruiting victory. The US military, after all, has plenty of experience doctoring metrics (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.).
Lower the quotas* and declare victory! Hooah!
*Warning: lowering the quotas may result in decreased funding from Congress and increased chances of avoiding wasteful wars. May also result in fewer command billets for generals. Warrior discretion is advised.
William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views. He can be reached at email@example.com. Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.