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    Default Trump's new army

    WASHINGTON — The Army plans to spend $300 million in a blitz of bonuses and advertising over the next eight months to recruit 6,000 additional soldiers it needs to fill out its ranks.

    Legislation approved by Congress and signed late last year by former president Barack Obama halted a years-long drawdown of U.S. troops. Rising threats around the world have spurred the increase. The Army’s new goal for the remaining eight months of the fiscal year is 68,500, up from 62,500 recruits. The addition of 6,000 recruits to the goal makes it the largest in-year increase in the history of the all-volunteer force that dates to 1973.

    Rapidly growing the Army also has come at a different type of cost in the past: lower standards for recruits produced sub-par soldiers. Many had to be culled after training. That won’t happen this time, said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, who leads Army Recruiting Command.

    “There is very clear guidance from the leadership in our conversations that there is no desire to lower standards,” Snow said.

    Army hits target for recruits
    By Oct. 1, the Army must hit its target of 476,000 active duty soldiers, up from the previous goal of 460,000. Increased recruiting along with retention of more soldiers will make up the gap. President Trump has said he wants an even larger force — as many as 60,000 more soldiers.


    The Air Force and Navy also are boosting their ranks. The Air Force plans to recruit and retain more airmen to meet its goal of 321,000 service members by Oct. 1, up 4,000 from its current total of 317,000, said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman. The Navy plans to add 2,200 recruits this fiscal year, according to Lt. Cdr. Nate Christensen, a spokesman. The Navy has a target of 323,900 sailors for this year. The Marine Corps will add nearly 800 additional Marines this year to hit its target of 185,000, said Yvonne Carlock, a Marine spokeswoman.

    The cost of growth

    Adding just 6,000 soldiers by October will cost the Army $200 million for bonuses to new recruits, $100 million in advertising and at least $10 million more to bolster the corps of recruiters and for processing recruits, Snow said. Hefty price tags will accompany future efforts to expand the Army, he said.

    “In order to do this, it’s going to require an awful lot of funding,” Snow said.

    Department of Defense Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow during a news conference at the Pentagon in December 2014. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)
    A military budget analyst questioned if the Army was acting too hastily to increase spending this year without congressional approval, and whether it had properly calibrated its proposed bonus payments.

    “The Army may be getting a little ahead of itself here,” said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a non-partisan think tank. “The money has not been appropriated.”

    Congress has not yet approved money to fund the troop requirement, and doesn’t appear to be in a rush to do so before late April when the temporary legislation funding the federal government expires, Harrison said. The Army’s interest in preparing for the changes is understandable since it will need to act quickly when the funding becomes available.

    Snow outlined his strategy for the first batch of new soldiers in an interview with USA TODAY. It will require beefier bonuses, more advertising and shorter enlistment periods for some.

    Bonuses: The Army will double bonuses, offering as much as $40,000 to new recruits in hard-to-fill military specialties, Snow said. That compares with bonuses currently of as much as $20,000, he said.

    The Army will need to tailor bonuses to get the most bang for its buck, Harrison said. One-size-fit-all bonuses could waste money.

    “Some people would have joined anyway” whether eligible for a bonus or not, he said.

    Additionally, as many as 600 recruiters will be eligible for bonuses of $500 per month to stay on the job another 12 months. Recruiters must be screened extensively because they occupy what the Army calls a “position of trust,” putting them in regular contact with young, potentially vulnerable men and women. The process means that it’s difficult to screen and train additional recruiters fast enough to meet demand, Snow said.

    The $200 million in bonuses between now and Oct. 1 compares with $284 million handed out in all of 2016. In 2008, when the surge of troops to Iraq was near its height, the Army issued nearly $1 billion in bonuses to recruits.
    .

    Shorter enlistments: The Army will offer a two-year enlistment, down from the usual requirement of three, four or more years. A two-year hitch is expected to appeal to high school seniors who want a short break before college, Snow said. The hope is that many short-termers will stay after being exposed to Army life.

    Some of the jobs open to shorter enlistments will likely be those that do not require specialized training like language or computer skills. Infantry, armor and field artillery are some of the jobs open to two-year terms.

    The Army has offered two-year enlistments in the past for a limited number of military occupations. The new two-year hitches will be offered more broadly, and will allow soldiers to earn money for college under the GI Bill.

    “It allows us really to demonstrate to them in a short period of time that listen, the Army’s a lot more than a job,” Snow said. “It’s a job and an education.”

    Maintaining quality

    The quality of recruits is measured by high school graduation, performance on military aptitude tests and limiting the number of those who score poorly on those exams. In 2005, due to difficulties in recruiting, the Army lowered the standards for soldiers it would accept.

    The price was too high, Snow said.

    “There are standards for a reason,” Snow said. “When you lower them, you have second- and third-order effects. What we’ve found by lowering them we were essentially separating soldiers at an increased rate – those that we had lowered the standards for. Right now, the guidance is very clear, and I actually think it is the right guidance, that is we are not going to lower our standards.”

    Snow and one of his top aides, Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Stoneburg, expressed confidence that the Army would hit its target by Oct. 1 with qualified recruits.

    “I feel confident that those here understand the importance of the mission and are committed to the mission,” Stoneburg said.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/p...uits/97757094/

    As noted, the money has not be appropriated yet and it remains as congress' choice. Probably more likely to create a draft than pay such high recruitment costs. We need to make any draft fair to include women and the wealthy, no exceptions.
    Trump's obvious lies make it impossible to believe anything he says that might be true. His presidency is falling apart fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/p...uits/97757094/

    As noted, the money has not be appropriated yet and it remains as congress' choice. Probably more likely to create a draft than pay such high recruitment costs. We need to make any draft fair to include women and the wealthy, no exceptions.
    Effective drafts are not a trolling net.

    Some citizens are worth more to the military effort in their civilian posts.

    And women being allowed in the military should never, I repeat never, become mandatory for them, just as being a Navy SEAL should never, I repeat never, become mandatory for men.

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    Obviously it is not some trolling net. There are legitimate excuses but very few. But we do need to eliminate the inequality of the Vietnam era draft. AND we need to make sure that sons and daughters of the rich and powerful meet their obligation too. Let them finish their schooling after their service.

    Right now the Pentagon is bribing people with huge bonuses up to $40,000!
    Trump's obvious lies make it impossible to believe anything he says that might be true. His presidency is falling apart fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/p...uits/97757094/

    As noted, the money has not be appropriated yet and it remains as congress' choice. Probably more likely to create a draft than pay such high recruitment costs. We need to make any draft fair to include women and the wealthy, no exceptions.
    The Armed Forces have achieved their best level of success in re-enlistments than recruitments . The problem that you never mentioned is that the army has given re-enlistment bonuses to ranking individuals already enlisted in the service. Controversy arose when men were re-enlisting and receiving bonuses in the fifteen thousand plus ,dollar range . Only to discover that the Army " Made an error " in the actual figures and wanted a portion of the re-enlistment bonuses back. I have to believe that this controversy is still on going because I haven't heard otherwise. Creating a draft would not be possible as long as the regulars haven't received the full benefit coming to them. Where would this money to enlist and train new recruits come from ? Without creating a major problem with the regulars that want their benefit returned to them ................m

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    ...we need to make sure that sons and daughters of the rich and powerful meet their obligation too.
    VP Pence's son is a U.S. Marine. In fairness, so is Sen. Tim Kaine's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    Right now the Pentagon is bribing people with huge bonuses up to $40,000!
    Fake news. Alternate facts. How can a bonus be a bribe? ....But the Left supports the military.....amiright?
    “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong...You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” - Ronald Reagan
    "This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves." Ronald Reagan (1964)

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    Ok so maybe it is wrong to call it a bribe, it is still an incentive to risk one's life. Its not usually the infantry that get such bonuses but the high tech and specialty personnel who do. People who can literally double their income by leaving the force. Set aside the bad food, the poor living quarters and being shot at for some urban dream job.
    Trump's obvious lies make it impossible to believe anything he says that might be true. His presidency is falling apart fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    Obviously it is not some trolling net. There are legitimate excuses but very few.
    What is legitimate is a decision of the Congress, and they may view more than a "very few" as legitimate.

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    Well there are many nations which expect universal service as an obligation. Here there are opportunities in civilian service, but they remain obligations.
    Trump's obvious lies make it impossible to believe anything he says that might be true. His presidency is falling apart fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    Ok so maybe it is wrong to call it a bribe,
    Thank you (and correct)...

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    ...it is still an incentive to risk one's life.
    correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    Its not usually the infantry that get such bonuses....
    Depends. Some times they do, sometimes they don't...it's one more tool in HR management...all sorts of organizations and companies do this to manage their workforce. Why wouldn't the military?

    If you have too many jet engine mechanics, then they lower the enlistment/re-enlistment bonus....when they need more infantry to stay, they offer bonuses. This isn't new....This cycle went up and down during my entire time in service....

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    .... People who can literally double their income by leaving the force.
    Many can...some can't. Some prefer the security of the service, the camaraderie, the service to the nation...and knowing that they'll have a set of guaranteed benefits once they retire....which for many can be as young as 37 or 38...plenty of time to have a more profitable civilians career if they choose to....or...take a lower paying/lower stress job knowing they're buoyed up by their retirement benefits...

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    Set aside the bad food....
    Sometimes...but generally temporary or relatively short duration...and sometimes they're pretty sweet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    the poor living quarters....
    The new barracks all look like luxury apartments...pretty sweet when in garrison. Field conditions can be a bit rough...austere even...but again...relatively short in duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    ... and being shot at for some urban dream job.
    Fair...but if you join the ARMED Services and don't understand you may get shot at....maybe you shouldn't have voluntarily joined....besides, if you live in Chicago (where guns are basically banned), there's a good chance you'll get shot there

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    Well there are many nations which expect universal service as an obligation.
    There are. We're not one of them. The All-Volunteer military has become the most lethal fighting force on the planet with a relatively small force...that's in large part due to a) they volunteered b) standards are generally higher c) education is generally better

    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
    Here there are opportunities in civilian service, but they remain obligations.
    True...but some believe that citizens have a duty to literally support and defend the Constitution....

    But I suspect that like many on the Left, you don't actually care about those serving...this is about some liberal pipe dream that is that if we had the draft, with no exemptions, then "the powers that be' would be less inclined to commit the military to war...

    But here's the deal...even when we did have a draft, alot of "connected" draftees found themselves pulling duty in Germany or DC....and not Viet-nam....so...if you think this is a panacea for elitism, then maybe you should consider not supporting people like Hillary Clinton, who embodies that "well-connected elitism".
    “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong...You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” - Ronald Reagan
    "This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves." Ronald Reagan (1964)

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