Monday, May 14, 2007


Among my handful of readers there are a couple members of the battalion staff as well as my chain of command to the battalion level. That makes it a bit difficult to always be as open as I'd like. Taking out my frustrations on the ones and zeros isn't always feasible because, well, few things can make a bad mood worse than a phone call from someone in your rating chain asking why you're in a bad mood.

It doesn't take a genius though to figure out what brings out a foul mood in a recruiter. It's the (quasi) end of the month and, well, I'm on a nut. Again. I'm at a net zero for the past three months. Not a fun place to be. I'm working on my third year out here. I should be cruising, but I'm not. Peaks and valleys... peaks and valleys... and I'm in the Grand Canyon.

Today was not a fun day. Not at all.

As I was riding home from work a white Tahoe with huge tires flew out of a side street. It barely stopped before it became a wall into which my motorcycle would thrown me. As I passed it I thought for a second "Man, I wish that the hood had just jutted out enough that I could have nailed it." I've gone over the hood of a car before. It hurts but as long as there is nothing in front of you when you land, you'll be able to walk away with a few broken bones. Nothing terrible. Had that horrible thing happened, I'd have probably been jacked up enough to get a day or two in the hospital, maybe some surgery to fix a bone or something. In short, I'd have gotten some time away from recruiting. No, I'm not thinking of killing myself (no, you can't have my stereo), and I pushed that thought out of my mind as soon as I realized I'd thought it, but it was there for the fleetingest of moments.

Some people like hearing about what happens during a recruiter's day (you sickos). In this recruiter's day I thought about how nice a period of convalescent leave would be. I assure you I'm not the only recruiter to come away from a potentially harmful situation thinking "Man, I wish that did happen, it would have gotten me a week off". Of course, with my luck, I'd have to do P1 from my hospital bed and I'd better come up with an AMEDD referral while I'm there.

Don't worry folks. I'm simply blathering. I owe too much on my motorcycle to think about putting it on the ground or around a tree.

Of course today was made all the worse by SGT Guardsman letting me know he's done with recruiting and going back to the non-recruiting world. This is my Two Minute Hate for Guardsman.



Anyways. Dropped off my applicant this morning. Went to a school visit. Got a call at noon saying my applicant was done. Apparently, when filing out the 2807-2 the question "Have you ever had a..." is asked differently on the 2807-1. So, of course, when the applicant filled out this particular question with me on the Dash 2, it's answered "No". But when they went downtown something about how it was asked made them rethink the issue and pop to having to need a biopsy done.

Needless to say the results of the biopsy were clear, no cancer, but now I need to have three clear biopsies for the applicant. That should take about... oh... three months to get done.


It is a situation like this which makes me feel bad about my condemnation of those from Tennessee.

If my applicant had revealed this issue to me before hand, I'd have found myself in something of a dilama. The applicant does not have cancer. The biopsy report I read said they're clear, and the report from the doctor implies that there is little threat of it actually becoming cancerous because of a lack of family history or whatever. Basically, it was "one of those things". Had this applicant revealed this to me, and now that I know what will be required to enlist this person, the temptation to tell them to just shut-up about it would have been great. I like to think I'm NCO enough to have done the right thing, but sitting on a nut, with no time left in the month, I'm not so sure.

This is an applicant who went from a slam-bam GA to a minimum three month delay, all on the basis of over thinking a question. And people wonder why recruiters will sometimes tell a kid to shut-up. It doesn't excuse it, but I can empathize.

When I got home from the office tonight I went out for a run, and as I ran I had all sorts of weird thoughts about stuff to write about. Nothing which was really solid enough to survive me getting a drink of water when I was done. Unfortunatly for you dear reader, I remember enough of them to do a free-flowing, what-the-hell type post where I cover a bunch of thoughts in the hope that quantity will have a quality.

I've been thinking about what the possible future of the Army and its recruiting could be. Because Lord knows the person who should be thinking about the future of Army Recruiting is the detailed recruiter who will be getting a counseling statement saying that he's going to receive an other than honorable discharge because he's an unmotivated recruiter who has failed in the most basic of recruiting tasks and is a disgrace to everything carbon-based (I exaggerate [a little]).

Currently there are two direct financial incentives available for people to recruit. The referral bonus and the Recruiter Incentive Pay. There is also the Special Duty Assignment Pay which is paid to recruiting personnel to, supposedly, compensate for the additional stresses and expenses a recruiter will incur during the month (however if you talk to career recruiter types they seem to think that the SDAP is a bonus you get for recruiting people as well).

As a taxpayer I find myself very unhappy with seeing my tax dollars go towards the Referral Bonus and RIP. I hate to be the dick who complains about this, but I'm honestly curious what the benefit is here. $2,000 referral bonuses and the potential for RIP payments of several thousand dollars to individual recruiters makes me curious about the return on investment for these programs. I have no idea how many people have been enlisted as a result of the Referral Bonus program. But I find myself curious how many of those people joined as a direct result of the referral. I understand the motivation behind the referral bonus, by giving Soldiers a cash incentive to talk with their friends (they don't get paid for family) that's another influencer urging this person to enlist. I suppose that they have a greater incentive to ship and complete training. But let's be open here, how many of those people referred would have joined anyways?

I've said it before, people don't decide to join the Army because of the actions of a recruiter. If that was the case no one would ever join roll a nut. A person has to want to join the Army. I don't have mind control powers. I'm not willing to lie and tell someone they can get any job they want, or they will never be deployed, or any of the others things people may or may not say to overcome objections. I stand by my opinion that if I have to browbeat someone into wanting to enlist, then they're someone who doesn't want it enough. It's like dragging a horse to water, or some other analogy.

So, how many of the people who the Army paid $2,000 to recruit, did we not actually have to spend that money on? How many were going to enlist anyway, and someone just happened to find them before the recruiter did? I don't know if there is a way to answer that question, or if it's even been asked.

I bring up that point to bring up another.

When I received my previous counseling it was suggested to me that, should USAREC fail to meet mission, then the Army was going to be broken and all sorts of bad things would happen. I didn't necessarily disagree with that statement, but I pointed out that the government has a way to remedy any critical shortfall in recruiting numbers. Have I gone all Charlie Rangel and suggested that we should grab em off the street? No. However to suggest that a signifigant shortfall in recruiting isn't something that couldn't be fixed some other way was inaccurate. The response to my response was less than warm though. But it is something to which I've given some thought.

Obviously we prefer a volunteer force, and I don't like the thought of undoing the success that the Army has built on the eagerness of motivated citizens. However I'm always interested in ways to save me money.

I'd be curious about the feasibility of reducing, or even eliminating, USAREC all together and simply putting the burden on recruiting onto the Army as a whole. Would it really be impossible to shift from requiring every recruiter to put in two per month to requiring every Soldier to put in one a year?

Slog through this with me, I thought of this while running so my brain was starved for blood.

There are about 500,000 Soldiers in the active Army. Assume half of that are not in the US, we've got 250,000. Even with a success rate of less than half, you could get the 100,000 the Army would need this year through recruiting. The specific mechanics of how this would work would need some serious thought, which I haven't done, but I think there's potential there. And as a taxpayer removing the need for a referral bonus (it's now a requirement), RIP (no recruiters to give the incentive to), and SDAP (again, no recruiters) would allow that money to possibly be better spent. Plus, with every Soldier being a recruiter, there's no need for the expensive office space (those prime location mall offices aren't cheap) and a fleet of several thousand late model cars (don't get me started on the $60,000 H3s).

Maybe this idea sounds nutsor far out, but I think it, or something like it, is coming.

Every conference I've attended has featured some USAREC/USAAC guy giving a speech about the future of recruiting. How the applicant will do more and more of the porcess for themselves. That, eventually, they'll complete their packet online, reserve their own job, schedule their own processing, and it will all be done without recruiters. The career recruiters in these briefings tend to scoff, or at least comment how recruiters will never not be needed, but I'm sure that a lot of what said had been said before back when Cavalry officers were first briefed about the coming automobile and saw their first tanks.

Of course I'm probably wrong.


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