Shorter enlistments

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Yahoo news reports that
The Army, faced with a severe and growing shortage of recruits, began offering 15-month active-duty enlistments nationwide Thursday, the shortest tours ever.

The typical enlistment lasts three or four years; the previous shortest enlistment was two years.

Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the head of the Army Recruiting Command, said 2006 could be even worse than this year, a continuation of "the toughest recruiting climate ever faced by the all-volunteer Army."

Recruits in the new 15-month program could serve in 59 of the more than 150 jobs in the Army, including the combat infantry, and then serve two years in the Reserve or National Guard.

They would finish their eight-year military obligation in the Guard or Reserve, volunteer programs such as AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, or the Individual Ready Reserve, a pool of former active-duty troops who can still be called to duty but aren't affiliated with any military unit.

Wait, isn't the army already extending people's enlistments? In order for a reduced enlistment to be attractive, it seems they would need to be able to credibly commit not to extending the terms of these new enlistments.

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4 Comments

It sounds like a scam to me. ALL the enlistments are 8 years when you include guard & reserve requirements, and it is really 8 years + whenever they decide to let you leave.

It sounds like a short term sucker play: get some more in the system by making them think its a short term thing, but then mobilize their guard unit once they get out of the main army, so you still get the 8 years term out of the new recuits.

It makes sense if you expect to be out of Iraq in a year or two, which the "this ain't a quagmire" and "the corner has been turned (again)" crowd seem to be relying on, and/or the "eat your seed corn" pholosophy which has taken over the upper escelon of the DoD. It makes no sense as a long term strategy.

OOPs, apparently it is 1.5 years army + 2 years reserve. But it is still 2 years + whenever they decide you are allowed to leave.

So I still think it is almost a scam, and a short term ploy to meet recruiting goals that might work this year, but won't work 3 years from now once the horror stories hit.

"Fifteen minutes, sir. That's all we ask. You join, serve your fifteen minutes, and then you're done. No, really. I know what you've heard on the news. We're serious this time."

Ohh, it IS nasty (3rd reading the charm):

15 months main army (welcome to Iraq).
2 years reserve (welcome back to Iraq).
+4 years in either Americorps, reserve, or IRR (welcome to President Coocoo Banana's Latest Quagmire (if you didn't select Americorps))...

It sounds to me like the "1.5 year option" could easily become 3 tours, as currently every division in the Army is basically either in Iraq or Afghanistan, training for deployment, or recovering.

Thus without either A: A massive drawdown in US forces in Iraq or B: A draft, what manpower the army recruits its going to have to stick with for as long as they can keep em in uniform.

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