Media Myth: Recruitment is Down


W. Thomas Smith, a former Marine, writes about myths that are being perpetuated about American soldiers. The one most trumpeted by the media is that recruitment is down because of the war in Iraq.

Five of the biggest myths include:

1) The U.S. Defense Department is unable to recruit enough military personnel to defend the country and its interests abroad.
2) Critical combat arms units are not being filled.
3) The military will accept any warm body and any dull brain it can get its hands on.
4) American minorities (and those from lower income urban areas) are suffering disproportionately higher losses on the battlefield.
5) Female soldiers are fighting in offensive ground combat operations.

All are myths perpetuated by those opposed to our efforts in Iraq, who are opposed to the current administration and the U.S. Department of Defense, who are pulling the race card (for whatever reason), or who would simply prefer to use the military for social engineering purposes rather than for what it is designed to do....

If we look at four of the past five years, the Army – which usually struggles more than the other services in terms of recruiting – has met and exceeded its goals for active-duty recruits....

For fiscal year 2004, the Army’s recruiting goal for active duty recruits was 77,000. That number was met and exceeded by nearly 600.

The Army’s active duty goal for 2005 was then upped to 80,000 – an increase of 3,000 over the previous year’s goal. And with 73,373 new recruits for 2005 – granted, less than 2004 and 92 percent of 2005 – the actual numbers were still high, and no one was lowering numbers to try and make goal....

Now, let’s look at the Defense Department’s latest active-duty numbers, released Monday: The Army achieved 104 percent of its recruiting goal for March. The Air Force and Navy both achieved 100. The Marine Corps achieved 102. Retention goals for the current fiscal year also are on track to be met, and four of the six Reserve components met or exceeded goal in March.

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