Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How Low Have Recruiting Standards Dropped?



I came across two articles... One in the left-leaning Slate.com and one on the more right-leaning Breitbart.com that talked about the drastic drop in military recruiting standards...

From Slate.com:

"...Faced with repeated failures to meet its recruitment targets, the Army has had to lower its standards dramatically. First it relaxed restrictions against high-school drop-outs. Then it started letting in more applicants who score in the lowest third on the armed forces aptitude test—a group, known as Category IV recruits, who have been kept to exceedingly small numbers, as a matter of firm policy, for the past 20 years. (There is also a Category V—those who score in the lowest 10th percentile. They have always been ineligible for service in the armed forces and, presumably, always will be.)

The bad news is twofold. First, the number of Category IV recruits is starting to skyrocket. Second, a new study compellingly demonstrates that, in all realms of military activity, intelligence does matter. Smarter soldiers and units perform their tasks better; dumber ones do theirs worse.

Until just last year, the Army had no trouble attracting recruits and therefore no need to dip into the dregs. As late as 2004, fully 92 percent of new Army recruits had graduated high school and just 0.6 percent scored Category IV on the military aptitude test.

Then came the spiraling casualties in Iraq, the diminishing popularity of the war itself, and the subsequent crisis in recruitment.

In response to the tightening trends, on Sept. 20, 2005, the Defense Department released DoD Instruction 1145.01, which allows 4 percent of each year's recruits to be Category IV applicants—up from the 2 percent limit that had been in place since the mid-1980s. Even so, in October, the Army had such a hard time filling its slots that the floodgates had to be opened; 12 percent of that month's active-duty recruits were Category IV. November was another disastrous month; Army officials won't even say how many Cat IV applicants they took in, except to acknowledge that the percentage was in "double digits." (source)

And from Breitbart.com:

"...Neo-Nazi and white supremacist hate groups are taking advantage of relaxed recruiting standards to infiltrate the US military to get combat training, a civil rights group reported.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks domestic extremists groups, called on US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward white supremacist groups in the military.

"Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists are joining the military in large numbers so they can get the best training in the world on weapons, combat tactics and explosives," said Mark Potok, director of the center's Intelligence Project.

"We should consider this a major security threat, because these people are motivated by an ideology that calls for race war and revolution. Any one of them could turn out to be the next Timothy McVeigh," he said." (source)

I remember my dad telling me about the relaxed standards during the Vietnam draft (that allowed Mohammad Ali to be drafted) and his feeling that many of the guys that came back so messed up from that war had went in messed up due to those lowered standards... Now the V.A. is paying for all those "disabled vets", but how many were already "disabled" before they went in?

Glaringly evidenced in the case of Steven Green that was just discharged due to a "personality disorder" (he is one of those charged in the rape case). Most of the military personnel that comments here say they never want a draft because of the caliber of the man next to them covering them...but why is this any different? Why would the top scoring guys want the guy with borderline personality disorder, operational defiance disorder or bipolar disorder next to him either...?

"...Experts say that people with personality disorders are pre-occupied with delusions and anxieties. Experts also say two months of boot camp would be overwhelming for individuals in this condition.

The low frequency of discharge due to mental illness in the Iraq war -about 8 in 1000 - suggest that there are very few people with mental illness in the armed forces.

Military experts also say that training in the military is also not as intense as it used to be.

Psychiatrists argue that in this atmosphere, antisocial behavior can go unnoticed. People with antisocial behavior can hide within the group as bold, effective soldiers. Antisocial behavior displays as reckless irresponsibility, lying and a lack of sympathy to the suffering of others. In the case of Mr. Green, Army officials have described a similar diagnosis for his reason for discharge." (source)

Relaxed standards seem like a bad idea for moral, for military integrity and monetarily...I would think those things would supersede meeting arbitrary recruiting numbers...

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