Paramilitary: The Right Place


August 18, 2007: The Department of Defense has often established reserve units in areas where the most useful potential recruits live. For example, there are many military intelligence units in Utah. That's because the state is largely Mormon, where church members are expected to spend two years as missionaries. Nearly half the 50,000 Mormon missionaries on duty each year, have learned a foreign language, and acquire an intimate knowledge of foreign culture while overseas. Thus Utah is the best place in the country for military intelligence recruiting. The military has to compete with the CIA.

U.S. Army Civil Affairs units need people who can quickly sort out messy government and economic situations in war zones. The best place to recruit the lawyers, engineers and business executives who are good at this is where there are heavy concentrations of these people. The east coast, from Boston to Washington, is a prime recruiting area, and that's where a lot of the Civil Affairs units are.

For Cyber War, the U.S. Air Force set up units in the Pacific northwest, and California. This is where the people who built and maintain the Internet live. Prime recruiting area for Internet geeks and software wizards in general.

Infantry units tend to be recruited in rural areas, with a higher concentration of hunters and outdoors types. Air force reserve units tend to be around areas where airlines have hubs. That means lots of pilots and maintenance staff live there. Again, good recruiting ground.

The conventional wisdom is that the military never gets it right when it comes to picking the right people for the right job. That's a myth that arose in the reality of World War II, when the U.S. put over twelve million men and women into uniform in a few years. Since then, the brass have learned that the right people in the right job makes everyone's life easier.


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