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Military Misses Recruitment Goal for First Time in 13 Years
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Photo: Marine Corps

Military Misses Recruitment Goal for First Time in 13 Years

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WASHINGTON – February 5, 2019

For the first time in 13 years, the United States has not fulfilled its military recruitment plan. In addition, for the first time, the United States broke the record in unwanted sexual contact among military personnel and cadets in the academies of the national service.

The 2018 fiscal year was a failure for the US army. It was officially stated that the recruitment plan could not be implemented. The plan was aimed at 76,500 call recruits, but the soldier recruit was only 70,000.

The last time there was such a shortage was in 2005, in the midst of the Iraq War, when many refused to serve because of fear for their lives.

The U.S. Army also experienced a shortage of 6,000 new soldiers in 1999. Officials attributed it to the heyday of the internet.

In response, they doubled the budget and relaxed the requirements for candidates. People were able to join the army without degrees if they successfully passed entrance exams.

But new times have come, and the reduced education level has now fallen to below normal. Initially, in 2018, it was planned to recruit 80,000 Americans, but in April the number was reduced to 76,500 due to budget cuts.

It is negligible to assert this after President Trump signed a law on a record defense budget ($716 billion) in 2019, the financial year for which started 1 October 2018. For recruits of the same 2018 year, this fact would be essential. But neither this fact nor the promises of military leaders to increase the number of army advertising and even to develop patriotic computer games to demonstrate the benefits of military service were not the main factor in young Americans’ decisions.

They don't want to be untraditional, unprofessional in the U.S. Army. Every year, tens of thousands of soldiers and officers are victims of sexual violence by colleagues. Newsweek reports that in 2015, 26,000 U.S. army soldiers and officers experienced "unwanted sexual encounters."

The figure has almost doubled over the past two years, says the Defense Department. The number of cases of unwanted sexual contact is estimated to have increased from 507 across all high schools in 2016 to 747 in 2018, DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office reported Thursday — almost 50%.

Military Misses Recruitment Goal for First Time in 13 Years

The study, conducted every two years, is based on anonymous surveys submitted from each service academy.

"Unfortunately the findings show that the rate of sexual misconduct at the academies has increased again," said Elizabeth Van Winkle, director of DOD’s Office of Force Resiliency. "We find these results to be frustrating, disheartening and unacceptable."

"Our approach must change," Van Winkle said. "What we have done in the past has often brought about short-term results, but has not shown sustained progress. Therefore, we are looking at the entire life cycle of our cadets and midshipmen, from acceptance into the academy, to entry into the active force ... in order to select strategies with the greatest promise."

The largest estimated increase was found at West Point, where 10.2% of female survey respondents reported unwanted sexual contact in 2016, versus 16.5% in 2018; and 1.4% of male survey respondents reported unwanted sexual contact in 2016 versus 3.4% in 2018.

"This is not just about the Army staff and faculty at West Point," the Army said. "We also expect more from cadets, who are our Army’s future leaders."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force Academy's estimated number of assaults among women rose from 11.2% in 2016 to 15.1% in 2018, but among men the numbers largely held steady, going from 1.6% of male respondents in 2016 to 1.8% in 2018. At the U.S. Naval Academy, the number of estimated assaults among women rose from 14.5% in 2016 to 15.9% in 2018. Among men, it dropped from 2.1% in 2016 to 2%in 2018.

Army headquarters said that they are taking all necessary measures and had instructed the leadership of West Point, in particular, to report on the Action Plan to solve the problem within a few weeks.

The Defense Department has previously stated that teams have had to spend years reducing the incidence of sexual violence through awareness — raising campaigns and outreach.

Military Misses Recruitment Goal for First Time in 13 Years

Here you can also find a database with the ability to search for the risk of sexual violence, published by RAND Corporation.

But there are other reasons for failure. Army representatives directly accused young Americans of addiction to drugs and alcohol. Statistics showed that only 1 in 4 Americans aged 17 to 24 years came to the induction station. And only one in eight of them were ready for service. The reason for this is the lack of any physical training, overweight, and many other problems, including the rampant use of alcohol and drugs.

Memo item:

As of August 2018, the refusal of conscripts to join army due to a positive test for drug and alcohol consumption amounted to 1.05% of the total number of applicants. For comparison, in 2017 the number of drug addicts among conscripts was 0.79%.

As a result, young Americans prefer to work in eateries and roadside stores. And this is despite the fact that, according to the chief of one of the recruiting offices of Sergeant Michael Pepper, the army, unlike many American employers, guarantees tuition in higher education.

"At the moment, almost none of the employers support students. The program on payment of training is only in two places: in the Army and in McDonald's,” Pepper declares.

The Pentagon explains the failures of the 2018 campaign by high requirements for recruits. Because of this, hundreds and thousands of potentially suitable candidates are eliminated. And it explains that the United States is committed to improving the quality, not the number of future soldiers.

"We need real specialists, which is why the candidates undergo such a harsh selection," said the official representative of the U.S. Army Hank Minitrez. However, recent Department of Defense actions don't coincide with his words.

In August, in order to secure national security, the FBI began the process of dismissing hundreds of American soldiers who were called under the program MAVNI (The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest). This program is designed to attract professionals from immigrant backgrounds to the army. Its essence is to help in the employment of immigrants in the American army, registration of citizenship and assistance in learning the language and the development of medical skills. The program has existed since 2009 and has already attracted more than 10,000 specialists in various fields. And now Pentagon representatives have decided to close the program.

And why did the United States need 80,000 new soldiers this year? From 2013 to 2017, the increase was smaller, from 56,000 to 67,000. Pentagon officials have vaguely replied that "We love to break records." But where? In Syria, Venezuela, Iran, China and beyond — without stopping?

Author: USA Really