A response to the recruiting crisis…

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Maintaining standards is more important than “making mission.”


Over time, the standards that a person must meet in order to enlist in one of the armed services of the United States have varied considerably. At times when recruits abound, the qualifications required of them go up. When, however, recruits are hard to find, these requirements go down.

Unfortunately, the further standards fall, the greater the tendency of people to view the barracks as a refuge for losers in search of “three hots and a cot.” This stigma, in turn, discourages the enlistment of people able to surmount a much higher bar. In other words, like the debasement of currency, a reduction in the prerequisite virtues required of recruits is a short-term solution with ruinous long-term costs.

In addition to discouraging the enlistment of men and women of quality, the acceptance of large numbers of substandard volunteers fosters the rise of dysfunctional organizational cultures. Thus, rather than pushing their subordinates to “be all they can be,” leaders devote their best energies to keeping them out of trouble.


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Plus: “In anticipation of such complaints, I would remind the personnel people that a lad or lass who can barely perform the duties of a private probably lacks the makings of a first-class NCO. To underline this point, I would tell tales of ‘seventies trash,’ persons who, having enlisted (or been commissioned) at a time when standards were low, did to America’s armed forces what barnacles do to a ship: taking up space, slowing things down, and lowering expectations.”

So long as they understand how to use the correct pronouns.


h/t Glenn

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