Thursday, March 24, 2005

Draft Watch: Army to Miss Recruiting Goals, Backdoor Draft Continues

According to today's New York Times, the Army is likely to miss its recruiting goals for March and April.
The secretary, Francis J. Harvey, said internal Army studies predicted that the service would not meet its goals this month and the next.

Those internal Army forecasts follow the official release of statistics for February, when the active-duty Army was 27 percent below its recruiting goal of 7,050. That shortfall was the first time since May 2000 that the Army missed a monthly goal, Army officials said.

In the first five months of this fiscal year, the Army has met 94 percent of its goal of 29,185 new soldiers. The Army plans to bring in 80,000 recruits this year to replace those who retire or do not re-enlist.

Mr. Harvey pointed out that in the active-duty force, retention is over 100 percent of the goal to this date, and is near 100 percent in both the Army National Guard and the Reserve, he said. Mr. Harvey said retention was actually higher than Army goals for units that had been deployed to Iraq.
I'm curious how much of that retention is due to forced reenlistments and other backdoor draft maneuvers, like this one reported today in Yahoo News.
The U.S. Army is ordering more people to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan involuntarily from a seldom-used personnel pool as part of a mobilization that began last summer.

They are part of the Army's Individual Ready Reserve, made up of soldiers who have completed their volunteer active-duty service commitment but remain eligible to be called back into uniform for years after returning to civilian life.

The Army, straining to maintain troop levels in Iraq, last June said it would summon more than 5,600 people on the IRR in an effort to have about 4,400 soldiers fit for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan after granting exemption requests for medical reasons and other hardships.

Lt. Col. Pamela Hart said on Wednesday the Army has now increased the number of IRR soldiers it needs to about 4,650, which means a total of about 6,100 will get mobilization orders.

The IRR differs from the part-time Army Reserve and Army National Guard, whose soldiers train regularly as part of units. People on the IRR have no such training requirements.
Sounds like just what we need in Iraq- untrained, unmotivated, and older soldiers.

Also today, the Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece about the reserves being used on the front lines of the War in Iraq.
When the reservists of Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Marine Regiment based in Houston got the call, most expected an uneventful tour in Iraq. The marines, drawn mostly from Louisiana and Texas, had anticipated pulling only security duty.

"We figured we wouldn't do much because we were reservists,'' said Staff Sgt. Jesse Noriega, a policeman from San Antonio, Texas. "We've been in the middle of it ever since."

Six months later, the Bravo Company infantrymen are as battle-worn and "salty" as any US unit. They've seen Iraq's dangerous Anbar province. They've fought in Fallujah and Ramadi and worked at the sharp end of the spear in America's most sustained urban combat since Vietnam. They're among the tens of thousands of reservists who have fought in Iraq, a consequence of the country's insurgency and an active-duty military understaffed for long-term occupation. In the process they've become the epitome of the "citizen soldier."
*Update: Operation Truth has a post dealing with the involuntary callups. As they note:
Americans please take note, the IRR is the last pot to dip in before selective service.