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The Military Could Soon Face Increased Recruiting Challenges
After more than a half-decade operating in a favorable recruiting environment that allowed the U.S. military to be increasingly selective and to meet most recruitment goals, the new environment is “likely to become significantly less fertile in the near future," according to a new summary report released by CNA.
“Population Representation in the Military Services” is CNA’s annual congressionally mandated study of the demographic makeup of the personnel serving in the U.S. military. This year’s report, released on Feb. 10, pins 2014 — the most recent year for which data is available — as a turning point in which the increasingly strong civilian labor market and declining Department of Defense budget begin to erode the bargaining position of recruiters interacting with American young adults.
The report warns the DoD that “without sufficient planning and resources, military recruiting will be characterized by 'boom and bust’ periods, as has been the case in past years.” The downsides of increased volatility in recruiting are plentiful, including higher recruiting costs and the potential to recruit lower-quality service members.
CNA researchers note that a strong economy and smaller recruiting budget is leading to a talent pool that is shrinking faster than the military is downsizing. Since 2009, there have been a decreasing number of applicants for each enlisted position available across the services. Over the last 30 years, notes CNA, approximately 60% of all non-prior service, or NPS, applicants for enlisted positions have been accepted by the military; today, applicants have a 70% chance of being accepted. CNA notes that even though the military has largely met recruiting goals in recent years, it no longer has much margin for error, and as a result “should expect NPS recruit quality to fall."
While CNA found that the military’s enlisted non-prior service recruits in 2014 were better educated than comparable civilians, it projects an eventual decline in recruit quality that cannot solely be blamed on the improving economy and shrinking military budget. CNA highlights a trend that has been discussed ad nauseam in recent years, reporting that the population of potential new recruits in the United States, ages 17-24, have “become increasingly unqualified for military service.” A recent DoD study on this age cohort, cited by CNA, found that “only 13 percent of youth would qualify [for recruitment] without a waiver, be available [i.e. not enrolled in college] and qualified to enlist without a waiver."
This prediction is troubling, as the military depends on these non-prior service applicants to fill most of its active-duty positions. Prior-service applicants only account for an average of 1–2% of new active-duty enlisted personnel across the services in recent fiscal years. Prior service accessions play a much bigger role in the Reserves, where they comprise over 40% of total enlisted accessions each year. That is unsurprising, though, as the Reserves are generally less dependent on the 17–24 age cohort.
Moving past the discussion of the military’s recruiting challenges, the full report contains a great deal of data on today’s military personnel, including a special section examining the diversity of today’s military. The report for 2014 looked collectively at race- and gender-related data for the first time, and found that “for both commissioned officers and enlisted personnel a higher percentage of female accessions than male accessions came from all minority groups.”
CNA also broke down the population of the major military occupations by race and gender. Since the military is just opening up combat positions to competition by women this year, it is unsurprising that men are proportionately much more likely to serve in infantry, gun crew, and seamanship positions. Women, on the other hand, dominate the medical and administrative fields.
Some of the data in the diversity section raises interesting questions about equality of opportunity in the military. For example, data for positions within the administrative jobs field shows that minority service members of both genders are proportionately twice as likely to serve in administrative jobs as are white service members. In the report, CNA theorizes that the ability of women to compete for combat jobs could have a ripple effect that transforms the entire occupational distribution of the enlisted force.
The report is intended to provide a full understanding of the U.S. military’s current and historical demographics. It does not provide recommendations for addressing the issues it highlights, leaving those actions up to Congress and the military. As such, the report can be used to justify a variety of positive, neutral, and negative conclusions based on one’s point of view and biases.
Regardless of a reader’s perspective, “Population Representation in the Military Service” is a valuable, data-rich resource for current service members, veterans, researchers, politicians and anyone else seeking to understand those who serve and those who are eligible to serve in our nation’s military.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.