Sunday, August 29, 2010

Old pot charge dashes Army dream: Marina recruit deemed unfit due to high school incident - Santa Cruz Sentinel

Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1993Image by pvera via FlickrThis is a pretty good read. People still have this mindset that military service is where you go to when you can't cut it anywhere else and you only expect three warm meals and a cot. This may have been the truth many years ago, but it is nowhere close to reality.

For example, the military is now delaying basic training to some people by up to 14 months. When I enlisted in 1992 my "delayed entry program" lasted about two months. In my case it was simple: they couldn't send me to basic training because I would graduate before my advanced class started, so there was no point in having me pass basic training, only to ride a mop bucket and a lawn mower for a couple months until the next advanced class started. It was a money decision.

People don't understand it is a numbers game. Recruiters are sales people with quotas. Notice in the article a recruiter even uses the phrase "quality numbers." The way the quota is structured, recruiters need to bring in a raw number of recruits, but a percentage of these recruits have to fit into highly technical areas, for example recruiting satellite repairmen is going to be much harder than recruiting for cannon cockers. Recruits that fit into those harder-to-find slots are called quality recruits and are worth more to the recruiter's effort. The same goes for jobs that will require a much higher than usual security clearance. Since they are getting better "quality" numbers, it means that the military is having an easier time finding clearable people and finding smart people to fill in these jobs, so there is less pressure to allow for waivers for things like possession of tiny amounts of pot, or low scores in the ASVAB.  

Imagine that instead of recruiting people to enlist in the military they are loan officers looking for people to give them mortgage loans. If a lot of people with high salaries, excellent credit and low debt ratios are already applying for the mortgages, it lowers the officer's motivation to entertain giving some of these mortgages to people with low wages, high debt and a bad credit history. Think of it as the low hanging fruit