The all-volunteer military seems to be getting less voluntary by the day.
Stop-loss orders have apparently been converted from an emergency measure to part of the force-planning process. That works for now, but what will it do to enlistment rates over the long term, especially if we ever have a non-jobless recovery?
Now a reader calls my attention to this Army Times story, which puts a somewhat less cheerful face on the Army National Guard’s vaunted success in meeting its re-enlistment targets. It turns out that recruiters were (falsely) threatening men and women getting off active duty that unless they signed up for the Guard they’d be immediately called back up and shipped to Iraq.
I’m sure the Army Reserve spokesman was telling the truth when he said the threats were unauthorized, though they were apparently very widespread. But in the intervening week there’s been no suggestion that those who were bluffed into re-upping will get a chance to take it back.
It seems to me there’s a lot of short-sighted thinking going on here. This sort of corner-cutting with our own folks ignores Kleiman’s First Principle of Karma Yoga: You give surprises, you get surprises.
In the long run, this leaves the country weaker.
But then, there’s been a lot of that going around lately.