Military Retention And Recruitment Thriving, Despite Moves To Repeal DADT

soldier_honor_silhouette13LezGetReal points out that despite clear Congressional intent to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, military retention and recruiting continues to thrive:

The Army National Guard met 94% of its recruiting goal and the Air National Guard met 99% of its recruiting goal. The eight other branches or components of the Defense Department met or exceeded their recruiting goals for the month of June 2010….According to the Defense Department, “The services also are at or above their fiscal year-to-date retention goals for the first nine months of fiscal 2010.” That means the DoD is keeping in service the numbers of personnel it needs and with the exception of the two National Guard components mentioned, they are bringing in new personnel at or above the required numbers for overall force strength.

This strikes me as something that would be front page news had we seen a drop in retention. Opponents of open services would have undoubtedly credited even the smallest recruiting dip to the “growing uncertainty over the future of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and used the occasion to argue that repeal will undermine military effectiveness — and the media would have undoubtedly posed this as a problem for Congressional Democrats. These numbers, however, seem to demonstrate the weakness of the opposition.

The “retention” question is also the focus of the Pentagon’s DADT questionnaire, which asks soldiers, “If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed, how, if at all, will it affect your willingness to recommend to a family member or close friend that he or she join the military?” During our interview on Monday, Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell described this as a “hugely important question.” “If the attitude of the force is such that they will be less likely to encourage others to join the military after repeal, we need to know that, so we can take measures to deal with that situation,” he said.