Paramilitary: August 11, 2004


While the war on terror isnt stopping people from joining the U.S. Army in record numbers, it has begun to hurt the Army National Guard. Half the armys reservists are in the National Guard, which is controlled by state governors in peacetime. Currently, the National Guard is two percent understrength, and are short about nine percent in their recruiting numbers for this year. But the problem is not getting civilians to join, its with the army veterans that normally comprise about half the people recruited into the National Guard. Currently, only about 42 percent of the new recruits are veterans, and this hurts a lot. The Guard depends on the veterans because of their military experience. But the vets arent joining, because of the risk of getting called right back to active service. If they had wanted that, they could have reenlisted. 

After talking with a lot of recent veterans they were not able to attract, new incentives are being proposed by National Guard recruiters to bring back the veterans. The main incentive is a one year guarantee that the new recruit wont be called up for active duty. Active duty troops who get out usually have definite plans, like attending college, getting married or starting a new job. Potential recruits have said that this one year guarantee would make them more likely to join the National Guard, and then take their chances for a call up after that. Other incentives include college tuition aid and signing bonuses. These last two have been used increasingly by states having a hard time meeting their recruitment quotas. While the federal government contributes a lot to running the National Guard, these units are ultimately the responsibility of the states they are in. The state governors want full strength Guard units because these outfits are needed for natural emergencies, and for the current war on terror, which frequently requires additional security personnel. While overall only about 15 percent of the National Guard and reserve troops are on active duty troops are on active duty, in some states its fifty percent. Thus some states are going to have more attractive recruiting incentives than others. 


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