Is it the economic downturn? Renewed patriotism? Despite near-certainty of being sent to war, hundreds of thousands of people enlisted in the armed services this year, allowing the U.S. military to meet all of its annual recruiting goals for the first time since the all-volunteer force was established in 1973. In recent years, the Army in particular has been forced to drop its standards, admitting high-school dropouts, overweight recruits, and ex-cons. This year, however, 95 percent of the year's recruits have high-school diplomas and only 1.5 percent received the lowest acceptable score on the military's standard qualification test—down from 4 percent in recent years. The Washington Post reports that even experts were surprised with the success: "We delivered beyond anything the framers of the all-volunteer force would have anticipated" said Bill Carr, a deputy undersecretary of Defense. Nonetheless, with many soldiers serving multiple combat tours, many are keeping a wary eye on personnel issues. One Brookings Institute fellow pointed to the possibility of "mass desertion, or people unwilling to stay in" and long-term maintenance of recruitment quotas.
TOP 10 RIGHT NOW