Monday, June 6


The WSJ reports that To Fill Ranks, Army Acts To Retain Even Problem Enlistees:

Faced with a long, tough war in Iraq, the U.S. Army has struggled mightily with recruiting. Now the service is battling to keep the new soldiers it has brought into the force.

More of the new Army recruits are washing out of the service before completing their first enlistment, which typically runs three or four years. One recent memorandum from a senior Army personnel official branded the problem "a matter of great concern."
To keep more soldiers in the service, the Army has told battalion commanders, who typically command 800-soldier units, that they can no longer bounce soldiers from the service for poor fitness, pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse or generally unsatisfactory performance. Typically such decisions are made at that level. Instead, the battalion commanders must send the problem soldiers' cases up to their brigade commander, who typically commands about 3,000 soldiers.
Still, some Army battalion commanders are less than pleased with the Army's decision to try to keep more problem soldiers in the service. "It is the guys on weight control ... school no-shows, drug users, et cetera, who eat up my time and cause my hair to gray prematurely," says one Army battalion commander. "Often they have more than one of these issues simultaneously."

So Bill Maher wasn't so far off base with his remarks about desperate military recruiting, was he?

Rep. Spencer Bachus (search), R-Ala., takes issue with remarks on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," first aired May 13, in which Maher points out the Army missed its recruiting goal by 42 percent in April.

"More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club," Maher said. "We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England (search) fruit, and now we need warm bodies."


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