Friday, April 22, 2005

Draft Watch: A better option than the draft

Intel Dump's Phil Carter, who wrote "The Case for the Draft", had a guest blog last week on Operation Truth looking at a RAND study that suggests options for shoring up our military other than the draft. This is from the summary:
Recruiting is expensive. On average, it costs the U.S. Army about $15,000 to recruit one soldier,1 and it must recruit 80,000 to 90,000 each year. If a soldier fails to complete his or her first term, the Army must spend a like amount for a replacement. Thus, it is very much in the Army's interest to minimize losses at every phase of the first term. This has become more important in recent years because the Army, during the lean recruiting years in the late 1990s, vigorously expanded its recruiting effort by adding and expanding enlistment incentives, by increasing recruiting resources, and by modifying recruiting practices.

This monograph focuses on the implications of these decisions for the manning and success of first-term soldiers. It also examines how the Army manages first-term soldiers. Training losses and retention problems drive up the demand for new recruits. Given the expense of recruiting and training losses, the Army should assess whether different management strategies could improve the success rates for first-term soldiers. It may be possible to cut attrition without compromising Army standards.

Carter is also participating in an ongoing online debate with James Joyner of Outside the Beltway about the possible need for the draft at Legal Affairs. Very interesting stuff...