"You And What Recruiting Pool?"
Via Ramesh Ponnuru, I see that Rudy Giuliani is joining Barack Obama, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton in calling for a larger Army. One can’t help but wonder where these troops are supposed to be conjured up from. The strongest thing coming through from Brian Mockenhaupt’s article on basic training is that it’s really hard to recruit an Army up to the current size.
That’s not to say that the military isn’t going to hit its goals. Clearly, they will. Already, though, they’ve stepped up recruitment bonuses enormously as well as relaxing standards for who they’re allowed to recruit. Less quantifiably, the obvious upshot of Mockenhaupt’s reporting is that at this point the message coming down to the people in charge of training new recruits is that at the margin they should worry more about losing soldiers than they should about passing on sub-par ones. The only really reliable way of increasing the recruiting pool would be to have a recession, and I hope that’s not what these candidates have in mind.