Monday, January 22, 2007

Reduction in Enlistment Standards

A new report out alludes (actually it outright says) that military recruiters are
a)not trained to spot gang members that are looking to enlist
b)overlooking gang activity and crimes to meet recruitment goals.

It seems though the military isn't keeping track, the FBI reports that many of the OIF veterans and some currently deployed are gang members (including a member of the Latin Kings that was awaiting his trial for assaulting a NYC cop).

"... The FBI described the gang presence as a "growing threat," the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

"The military enlistment of gang members could ultimately lead to the worldwide expansion of U.S.-based gangs," the report said.

The Defense Department does not track gang membership in the military. But FBI investigators believe the reduction in enlistment standards -- due to recruitment pressure related to the Iraq War -- has brought more gang members in.

The FBI said some gangs recruit veterans or serving members of the military because of their experience with explosives and firearms. Other gang members may join up to get access to weapons and equipment." (source)

Aside from the possible "worldwide expansion of U.S.-based gangs", what about the safety of the other troops? And the possibility of misconduct that could further resentment toward the US Military?

(Picture depicts U.S. gang graffiti in Iraq)

This on top of the fact that recruiters are "considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.

Foreign citizens serving in the US military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans' willingness to serve in uniform.

The idea of signing up foreigners who are seeking US citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

The proposal to induct more noncitizens, which is still largely on the drawing board, has to clear a number of hurdles. So far, the Pentagon has been quiet about specifics -- including who would be eligible to join, where the recruiting stations would be, and what the minimum standards might involve, including English proficiency. In the meantime, the Pentagon and immigration authorities have expanded a program that accelerates citizenship for legal residents who volunteer for the military..." (source)

I guess my first reaction to this is if they can't even vet potential recruits well enough to weed out gang members (who don't normally work hard to conceal their affiliations) --how can they guarantee no Islamic militants will infiltrate our Armed Forces?!

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