Army Bob: How does does volunteer force stack up?

by Robert M. Traxler

The United States Army will miss its recruiting mission by more than 10,000 troops this year; that is a light division of soldiers.

The why is important in understanding our society; obesity, drug use, not being able to read at an eighth-grade level, not passing the basic recruiting testing (mental and physical), criminal records, and pre-existing health issues, are the most prevalent bars to enlistment.

Slightly less than 30 percent of applicants qualify for enlistment. The economy and low unemployment levels are also a factor. Add in the woke cancel culture, the anti-American training the young are receiving in many schools and colleges, the anti-American hate we find in the politically correct media, and they have an issue serving our nation.

Having served in the draft Army and the all-volunteer Army, I firmly believe the volunteer force is head and shoulders above the draft army. An old axiom in military circles is that a leader spends 90% of the time on the bottom 10% of the unit’s soldiers. The draft army had outstanding soldiers; it is safe to say the vast majority of the draftees were good men (women were not drafted, so can the hate over the use of the term men). However, the percentage of substandard soldiers was higher than it is in our all-volunteer force, no denying it. 

During the Vietnam era the Army published maintenance manuals in comic book form; that should tell us something about a draft force. At any given time the Army had 10% of the force absent without leave, in deserter status, in civilian or military confinement, or pending a less-than-honorable discharge and thus not deployable. The volunteer force has less than 1% non-deployable.   

Army Bob Traxler

Judges sentencing felons to service in the Army is a practice that the uninitiated advocate; to those folks we need to ask: would you like to have felons armed with fully automatic weapons in your office or workplace? Would you bet your life on a person who has failed to function successfully in a low-pressure civilian life? Eight of ten soldiers from this source fail to fit in and end up being a problem for leaders at all levels, are not the soldiers you would want to watch your back in battle, and end up discharged with less-than-honorable discharges. The American armed forces are not a social services agency existing to repair the civilian worlds failures; however, no one told the woke leadership currently in charge of our military.  

The British Royal Army, a volunteer force, sets its force levels on the ability to recruit new highly qualified soldiers, not a bad idea. What would be an extremely bad idea would be my Army lowering its standards to make recruiting mission. History teaches us that a professional army can defeat a conscript force many times its size, the Romans being a good example.

The military force is currently less than one half of one percent of the nation as a percentage of the population, smaller than it was before the World War II buildup began, a time history teaches us invited the Germans and Japanese to declare war on our nation. We have a surprisingly small force, and we have trouble finding qualified recruits?

This is indeed an indictment of our society; the younger generation has a large number of “snowflakes,” young folks who would rather sit on a couch playing video games and blaming others for their shortcomings than get physically fit, lose weight, not commit crimes and learn to read so they are qualified to serve our nation. My opinion.  

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