05 April 2011

Sound Off! Career Professionals vs Broad Recruitment

Where should your military focus?

Broad recruitment across all of society for short terms of service?

Narrowly-targeted membership with high investment in retention for a career?

Sound off in the comments with your thoughts!

By: Brant


Guardian said...

My two-cents worth as an armchair warrior and (formerly deployed) contractor...

I would honestly like to see a draft, with as few exemptions as possible. It would give society at large a greater stake in and understanding of our national security policy.

This draft could be fairly broad. People who are medically disqualified from, for example, combat arms could still perform CONUS-based or theater-rear support functions like mail, logistics, intel analysis, etc. You could also broadly define the draft to include "civil service" or whatever. My wife worked road construction one summer during college. Things like that.

FWIW, I also think it would build national character *and* some real-world job skills for young people.

Of course, there's always the "service guarantees citizenship" concept from RAH's Starship Troopers, but then I'd risk being called a fascist :).

-- Guardian

Guardian said...

One additional note: certain high-value, training-intensive, and combat-specific skills should be treated differently. Combat arms, for example, should be treated as an elite, possibly volunteer-only, component of the force with extra pay, retention bonuses, and other perks. It's one thing to get somebody to sort the mail, order toner cartridges, or reset people's computer passwords at one of the big FOBs, like Camp Victory in Iraq or Bagram in Afghanistan. Pretty much anybody can do that. Infantry, SOF, tankers, aviators, etc. are a different skill set, higher training requirements, harsher physical and psychological demands, etc. There is also less demand for most of those skills in the civilian world (except for police, commercial pilots, and so forth).

Brant said...

I definitely agree with the idea of much wider (even mandatory) service. I'd be fine w/ heavily incentivized service, like free college tuition, or interest-free mortgages, or something similar. I've got no problem with building a middle class through the shared sacrifice of military service.

Zachary said...

Gee, I show up late and Guardian and Brant have taken all the good talking points. :-)

If I had read Stephen Ambrose's "Citizen Soldiers" I'm sure I'd have something substantial and thought provoking to add to this discussion, but I haven't, so I'll just say I side with broad recruitment over narrow-targeted membership any day of the week.

Brant said...

The dangers of broad recruitment are two-fold:

1. you have a lot of turnover in the ranks, making it more difficult to build you leadership

2. you have a training challenge because of the turnover and won't have as much time for in-depth training of detailed specialties