Recruiter and I got a bit of love from Kevin over at Command TOC. Recruiter's original point was that the Army is not the "last ditch" opportunity that many people think it is. This is because the Army has some very high standards. Most of the time, when someone is at that "last ditch" moment in their life they've effed up somehow. They failed HS, got into some trouble w/ the law or drugs, or in some way did something which has made them disqualified from the Army.
The Army's failure to meet mission is a self-inflicted wound. For the past several years the Army's been able to meet mission based on a mission in the 70,000's. This year though the Army upped the mission to 80,000 and we fell short. Even though we would have met mission in prior years based on the number of people who volunteered. It is never good to fail to accomplish your mission, but thanks to the INSANE numbers of people reenlisting the lack of enlistees doesn't seem critical. You don't need to recruit a bunch of people if you're not losing the people who the enlistees would need to replace.
Retention doesn't offset recruiting. The Army is a funnel. You put people in at the top and 20 years later a small percentage of them come out at the bottom. With retention outstripping recruiting that will become a problem eventually. More senior personnel will block promotions, they cost more in salary, and you have to buy them out with early retirement options when it's time to get the funnel back into shape. But we're at war and if someone wants to stay in the Army won't kick them out.
Back to my original thought. Kevin mistakes the fact that because waivers for disqualifications exist it means that everyone gets in. That isn't true. I've been working with Mr. Mayer since the end of July. I had multiple trips to different courts all across the state getting police checks, court documents, and referrals from his previous employers. He had to write a statement about what happened and how he's changed his life. He had an interview w/ my CO who grilled him for 45 minutes about the incident and why he should be allowed into the Army. All of this for a single DUI that occurred FIFTEEN (15!) years ago.
Waivers are not easy. I know several recruiters who won't do them because they're a pain and there isn't a guarantee it will be worth it. If Mr. Mayer hadn't been approved I would have wasted the hours I spent waiting in line at municipal court. The cash I spent on copies from his court record. All the effort would have been for naught.
Kevin is free to believe whatever he wants. If he wants to believe that the Army is letting anyone and everyone in. Fine. If he wants to believe that recruiters are living in a La-La land and we're all just a bunch of liars feeding America's youth into the evil Bushitler Iraqi Meatgrinder made by Halliburton. Please do so, it's your right, a right you helped to defend. Honestly, I really don't care.
I've been told dozens upon dozens of times that someone won't join the Army while Bush is in office. When I was a total cherry recruiter I might have kinda believed them. I know better now. If you won't join for Bush, you wouldn't join for Clinton, Gore, Nader, whoever. President Bush isn't keeping people from joining the Army. Iraq isn't keeping people from joining the Army. Bush and Iraq are giving people who would NEVER join any service ever an excuse to not join that sounds better than what they were saying before. Iraq gives a coffeehouse liberal the ability to look cool by saying "I'd join the Army, but I could never support Bush". And that sounds much better than what they said before of "I'd join the Army but I'm a died-in-the-wool leech and have no intention of doing anything to repay this great country for the rights I enjoy and the unprecedented-in-history privilege in which I live".
Anyway, I dropped a guy off to see ortho today. If he gets approved I drop him on day 1 of next month. Yay.