The U.S. military is having a tough time recruiting members in the vibrant Trump economy, and is falling short of its recruiting goals. One idea, and it’s a good one, is in lowering the recruitment age for members to 16. The idea is now being considered, according to this report in the Washington Times. Here’s a non-subscription version of the story, too.
The best way to fix the U.S. armed forces’ recruiting challenges may involve dipping further into the nation’s high schools.
As the Army, Navy and other services contend with a thriving economy and a directive to expand their ranks, there is a growing debate over whether the military should consider lowering the minimum enlistment age from 17 to 16. More than a dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, already have adopted the policy.
Critics say the idea is deeply flawed and presents a host of societal problems, but supporters argue that the Pentagon needs to think outside the box if it wants to continually overcome one of the toughest recruiting environments in decades.
Neither the military nor lawmakers have given any indication that they are entertaining the idea, but some analysts say that opening the ranks to younger Americans could provide unique benefits and may be the kind of fundamental overhaul the recruiting system needs for the 21st century.
The analysts quoted, such as one from the Rand Institute, Beth J. Asche, have a kind of circular logic, saying that for potential youth recruits, the Army needs to skip the ‘Be all you can be’ slogan and …. focus on ‘Be all you can be.’ Here’s the passage:
But analysts say the military’s past tack of using marketing slogans such as the Army’s “Be all you can be” mantra no longer works.
Instead, they say, the branches should craft multiple appeals centering on the host of benefits that come from military service, including educational assistance, patriotism, career benefits, and the host of jobs a man or woman can perform in the military outside of a combat zone.
“I think what’s happening now — and it’s not that messages aren’t important — but I think there’s a realization that different people are interested in different things,” said Ms. Asch. “It’s not one message. People want to join for a variety of reasons, so the message has to be somewhat tailored.
Ummm, that’s what it has been doing for the past 40 years since the Vietnam War, Beth. Poor gal has no originality. And it sure as heck isn’t what’s working now. read more