Friday, April 25, 2008

Carry the five...

There is a problem with the waiver numbers.

Originally I was going to just do an update to the original post, but it had grown unwieldly enough already so I'll just start from whole cloth.

I'm providing links to the sources I'm using so hopefully one of my more mathematically inclined readers (Hi Mom! Hi Mrs. SFC B!) can take a look and double check my math.

I'm using USAREC's G7/9 as my source for the total recruiting numbers. Because USAREC hates people they don't bother to provide a roll-up of total numbers enlisted for Active and USAR, so I do need to add them together when running these numbers.

I'm getting my waiver data from a couple of different sources.

First is the report from the House Oversight and GOvernment Reform Committee. This has specific felony waiver data for all the services for 2006 and 2007. It lists the number of felony waivers as 511 and 249 for 2007 and 2006.

Second is the report from the Palm Center of UC-Berkeley. They had done a FOIA request for waiver data to DoD and have their results published here. That has a breakdown for 2003-2006 by service and by type of waiver as well as a roll-up for all of DoD. It lists the number of felony waivers for 2006 and 2005 as 901 and 571. They also have a link to a report which provides moral waiver data from 1990-1997.

Third is a report which was originally published in the Baltimore Sun which gives felony waiver data from 2005 and 2004 as 630 and 408. The Palm Center's numbers say that there were 360 issued in 2004.

I'm very frustrated that there is simply no decent, consolidated source for this data. USAREC's numbers only go back to 2003. Anything before 2003 I basically need to go delving into newspaper reports to find some reference to it in a story that may or may not be about recruiting at all. The waiver data is no where to be found unless it's requested from Congress or FOIA. So to find that I need to hope that it was requested and published somewhere to be found. To top it all off, I have no idea what the reports about waiver data are actually reporting since they don't break it down by specific offense like the one in the House Oversight report does. The data from the Sun and the Palm Center might (probably?) be data they presented after doing their own analysis on what was provided to them by DoD. I'm actually pretty certain that's what happened in the data from the Palm Center because their categories are just wonky. (serious non-traffic?).

I actually find myself debating the merits of making my own FOIA request regarding the waiver data. Not to try and pump me ego up too much, but I'd like to think that, on the topic of Army waivers, I'm a bit more familiar with the topic than Lolita C. Baldor.

Speaking of being familair with Army waivers... in the past 14 months the AP has run two stories about the military, felons, and waivers. Both stories were bylined to Lolita C. Baldor. Neither story reports the same numbers. In the 2007 story she reports the data from the Palm Center for 2005 and 2006. The 2008 story reports the numbers from the House Oversight Committee for 2006 and 2007. No reference is made to the difference in the numbers she'd reported last year.


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