Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Military Standards for Service Lower Than Ever

So just how miniscule and short is the attention of the national press? The hysteria over what Senator Kerry said about being "stuck in Iraq" is getting more press than the war itself. I expect the knee-jerk reactions of ReBlogLicans to squeal out in angry agony.

However --

Last week, the press and even the military itself, was expressing grave concerns over the lowering of standards used to reach military recruitment goals. Here's an article from The Marine Corps Times:

"They’re meeting their numbers in the short term, but doing it in a way that doesn’t bode well for the future,” said Peter Singer, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, an independent research and policy institute.

“They’re lowering their requirements and taking in a greater number of people who would not have made the cut previously,” such as CAT IVs, Singer said.

CAT IVs are potential enlistees who have earned the lowest scores on the aptitude test.

“Studies show that CAT IVs don’t make as good a soldier,” said Singer. They have a harder time shooting straight and succeeding at complicated tasks, he said.

“These are the folks who tend to get into more trouble, as well,” he said. “Pvt. Steven Green is the best example.”

Green, along with four other soldiers, is in federal prison for allegedly raping and killing a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing three of her family members. He was a high school dropout with behavioral problems and run-ins with law enforcement before he enlisted in the Army.

“This is a kid who would’ve washed out in the past under the old standards. That raises some concerns.”

Singer said “the wash out” rate for basic training in 2005 was 18.1 percent. In 2006, it dropped to 7.6 percent. That means roughly 10 percent of people who would have washed out before are now in the military, he said.

“The Army also doubled the numbers of non-high school graduates it took this year,” he said.

And the military isn’t just lowering standards, he said.

“They’re dumping an enormous amount of resources and manpower into recruiting. They’re making a greater effort, lowering standards and they’re still just eking it out.”

Marshall, the local Marine Corps recruiting station commander, said his branch is as exclusive as it’s always been.

“We haven’t lowered our ASVAB standards or increased our age limit to foster numbers like the Army has,” he said, as eager teens ran through obstacle course stations around him. “We don’t sell technical skills or college funds — we sell the opportunity to be a Marine.”

However, he did admit concern about the overall quality of the military.

“The lowering of standards is going to lead to a long-term problem in terms of leadership and understanding the mission,” he said. “If you got someone who scored a 21 on the ASVAB, how can he understand our technical manuals or the mission from the commander? We don’t write it in fifth-grade English.”

Eugene White, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served for 24 years, including two tours as a platoon leader in Vietnam, said he was concerned with the number of medical and criminal waivers being issued for enlistees.

“When you talk about people who are obese or have criminal records from my perspective as a platoon leader, they require a higher degree of care and maintenance,” said White, who now works as a military analyst for a private corporation.

He’s less concerned about soldiers who don’t have a high school diploma.

“I’ve met a lot of soldiers with GEDs who are better trained than high school grads,” he said.


  1. There you go Joe not supporting the troops. You must be one of thoes John Kerry freaks. Stay the course, don't you know anything. The economy is great and republicans know everything. Coulter and Rush should wed and be the only couple to be allowed to procreate then the world would be a perfect place.

    Note to NSA: I got my mind right here boss!

  2. Anonymous12:25 PM

    Bush is proof is an education does not make a man
    But his people really do think the soldier on the ground in Iraq is truly stupid because everyone remotely connected to a soldiers life knows it is the least educated who end up carrying the guns and tripping the mines in a conflict. Not all of them but most of them. The well connected and educated, well they sit at home adjusting their stock portfolios to match the Corportations whose profits are boosted by Iraq and the GWOT.
    The saddest thing is, is that the GOP has no qualms about sliming any vet who disagrees with their objectives.
    You know, a group of people who have gained and maintained their power by exploiting a national tragedy and a global conflict have not interest in ending that conflict.