Military Recruiting Challenges are Becoming Systemic Part 2




Part 1 walked through some facts bearing on why parents might not be inclined to support military service while also outlining why the Biden administration-particularly his woke, political-feckless and useless-Secretary of Defense-Lloyd Austin-is the poster child for failure in all things military these days.

There have been significant efforts in recent years to address military pay and retirement benefits. With the newly packaged Blended Retirement System (BRS) you have a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) component modeled after the government civilian service system program where the government immediately contributes an automatic 1% of base salary into a 401K type investment vehicle that provides for early vesting, as well as an increase of an additional 4% after two years participation for a total of 5%-if the service member contributes at least 5% of their base pay-which is matched by the government-just like the civilian program.

The government retirement programs all base upon somewhat of a triad or three component retirement consisting of earning a portion of base salary after so many years of service, now augmented by the TSP, and also in consideration of social security. The idea behind adding the military TSP is fairly solid, providing a makeup opportunity for the loss of that 10 and 15 percent of the formerly full retirement benefit that many of us received-with mine being the modified Clinton Voluntary (hahaha-voluntary) Early Retirement System (VERS)-where 75 of 76 of us in the category of over 15 years but less than 20 in the zone were passed over for Major and “invited”-since we now qualified-to put in for VERS or the other scheme to get people to take a lump sum (there was the VSI and SSB,) a one-time payment and some limited retirement benefit-5 years health and medical, as well as PX and Commissary privileges-which even if you received $250K (pre-taxes)-pales in comparison to a full benefits retirement under VERS.

And, yes, I know it was called “voluntary,” but none of us who were passed over during one of the worst Major selection rates ever-~63%-including 99% of those of us in my category except one minority (black-not a big deal, just a fact) friend of mine who worked for a minority (black-ditto) general officer at Fort Huachuca, thought so. Particularly after we received a Department of the Army (DA) Letter that went to the trouble to notify those of us who “qualified” for these programs (yea) to be aware that the heretofore policy that those who attained 18 years of service, made it to 20-which was known as “selective continuation to retirement-” was not an actual policy but a courtesy. With the Army struggling to meet leadership drawdown quotas throughout the force, DA was considering all options to include the reconsideration of that “tradition.” Those qualified for one of these “generous” programs should consider their options carefully while the programs are still being offered: nobody who received these actions was under any delusions about trusting the government.

Now you might give up $140 a month or so (reduced to something like 48.5% of Base Pay, vice the full 50% at 20 years) and it reinforced what a great deal the tax free military benefits were (when you lost them-Basic Allowance for Quarters and Basic Allowance for subsistence (food,) but the math was the same then as it is now-which made it a very silly idea to take the lump sum SSB unless there was a very unique circumstance or situation. The VERS was a full, peace dividend retirement that has been very, very, very good to many I know, a lot of whom have passed the 700K mark on retirement dollars at this point in life and should hit the million-dollar lotto threshold according to life actuarial tables. Nobody that I knew harbored the delusion of an actual retirement at ~35-40 years old anyway, after being in the military for nearly two decades.

In 12 moves owning 4 houses over that time period only one of them sold in the green-and it was very light green. All to say that a military career or the idea of military service is not a proposition that is going to be sold based on the financial aspects for anyone who seriously looks into and contrasts it with alternatives in the private sector when the competitive rates for ex-military and trained information technology personnel-for instance-is not comparable.

The educational benefits have somewhat narrowed as well, with government loans and civilian employers much more inclined to contribute and pay for relevant educational or vocational training in exchange for service.

The military remains a great opportunity for those who want to pursue an education-and it strikes me that offering to offset government held educational debt in exchange for service has great potential from a recruiting standpoint: if that is on the table.

The military self-inflicted a similar problem (to recruiting challenges faced today) for themselves during the Clinton invoked-enforced peace dividend drawdown that suddenly made many of our most senior personnel become very concerned about number one-themselves. The military does not work very well-in fact-it starts to fail-if the elements of the warriorship ethos, tenets like selfless service, love of country, patriotism, reverence for the flag, the constitution-all the things that have formerly been touted as a reason for service-become subordinated to a bunch of management, equivocations on value that undermine the sometimes heartfelt reasons people serve their country that transcend all the monetary, rationalization and equivocation logic and reasoning that makes the posters, commercials and jingoes.

For those of us who were in shortage skillsets but let go anyway during the Clinton era, it was ironic to be later approached by the military to consider rejoining the force for the priviledge of serving-attaining the promotion that had been blithely dismissed during the “peace-dividend,” advancing on the pay scale to that level-giving up whatever job you had obtained in the meantime-all to say that one of the things the services are pretty bad at is “talent management:” which bodes poorly for the solving of this recruiting crisis.

I’m pretty far into this article to introduce a new consideration but based on hundreds of former military I’ve talked to, heard from, read, and exchanged ideas with, nothing is going to undermine the future of our military-from a recruiting standpoint- worse than the embracement of Critical Racism Theory, which by definition seeks to undermine and pit majority against minority Americans to no good end. But that pales in comparison to the misguided, deranged, foolhardy and singularly bankrupt actions of the so-called Renaming Commission nonsense.

The description or phrase that increasingly comes up with regard to this idea of expunging history and creating new beliefs and new history that depicts and necessarily makes everyone who participated on the Confederate side evil, is “traitor.” Which seems ahistorical and late to the discussion, but very much in keeping with and in context with the trends of the recently woke, “vapors” crowd who are triggered and offended by the wind and ordinary, everyday speech-pronouns, social media, seemingly innocuous references, gestures and comments.

What is disturbing about the trend when you listen to folks who largely have not-did not-will not serve, is the number of our fellow military-most very recent in terms of service-in seeming agreement with further punishing the losing side of a war that is over 150 years in the rear-view mirror. If you or anyone you know is triggered by Fort Bragg or Fort Hood or Stonewall Jackson Boulevard because somebody tinkled in your ear about slavery, that is just so pathetic and stupid and cringeworthy and childish that it defies belief.

I think a survey should be done for those who have served and therefore might influence the potential for sons, daughters, relatives, friends-etc. to serve, to see what of the many aspects to dislike with today’s military messaging represents the most egregious, compelling and disincentivizing to service actions undertaken since Biden took office and appointed Austin as SECDEF.

The low popularity ratings or public opinion of the miliary is a recent problem of this administration’s making that has undermined the public view of the integrity, reputation and credibility of the military in the 21st century.

I’m pretty sure we would find that painting the staunch, long serving patriotic history of the citizens of former confederate states and the legacy of their service as traitorous does not sit well with many who have a tradition of service that dates from the founding of our country to present. How would you like to have a distant relative who served at the behest of his fellow citizens only to now be told they were somehow traitors to their country? That does not sit well with many!

Where would we have been in World War I and II-in every battle, skirmish, conflict through the Gulf Wars-if the history of service and sacrificing military traditions of the south had been disrespected like this after the Civil War? It seems stranger still that those directly engaged in these battles had a greater understanding, compassion and respect for the sacrifices of these soldiers than the people who have benefited directly by their service over the ensuing 150 years: and I mean America.

What effect has the disrespectful treatment of the military deployed to the Capital-DC-in the sham hysteria that followed the federally choreographed events of 6 January-had on recruitment? How about the sham down-day to address issues that nobody knew existed in the services until Austin’s clumsy attempt to address-well-something? Followed by some of the above, as well as simply a ridiculous COVID policy and an even more looney-tunes vaccine policy where an experimental drug was forced on our military without any testing or experiment regime-in peacetime- that warranted administering the experimental toxin to the most healthy-and least at risk-demographic in the United States?

Some will say it is easy to say that in hindsight now that much more data is in, but isn’t the point of leadership making the tough and hard calls that are supposed to be made in the best interest of those you lead? This was a total failure of leadership and kowtow to the politically correct. The alternative was to do what was done in 1976 for the Swine Flu Vaccine, the administration of which to the military was stopped near immediately once adverse reactions proliferated and began impacting military readiness: that was also a case of a vaccine that was administered before research and data were complete in light of the danger to seniors and not to the young: a distinctly more logical basis for a policy than “stick and hope for the best.”

We trifle with these matters that elevate the few at the expense of the many-in the case of the woke, Critical Racism Theory, trans policies, white racism witch hunts, mind-numbingly dumb COVID and vaccine policy (think of the pictures with helicopter crews wearing flimsy masks,) having the military get involved in abortion issues-and pick up the political hypocrisy messaging of the left that it is a “woman’s health issue,” and the castigation-relitigating-of parts of our history that are settled-not only to pick winners and losers-again-as if those issues have not been thought through and addressed by and over the generations that were much closer to the consideration radius than anybody opining who was born after about 1950-who look to punish all over again and talk down about the vanquished and expunge their memory from our midst.

What is next for these idle hands seeking to undo our traditions and history, painting with a broad and brand new brush-that is more like a magic wand-somehow thinking that it is not only okay-but righteous-to re-imagine history in terms of and through the lens of their biases and opinions and prejudices that place intent and beliefs on people in light of today’s foolishness to reshape America in a way that favors disregarding and discounting everything that got us to this place in time?

With blatant disregard for the institutional mission and goals that have kept-for instance-the military at the forefront of being one of the most diverse and successful components of the US government: an effort that has been pursued for at least fifty years at this point with policies specifically focused on the recognition and elevation of minorities over other groups.

I lived in Prince William County when I was in Virginia. If we must rename high schools, streets, take down monuments to service of southern military, how long will it be until we undo the names associated with the British/English: where would that stop?

If “everything” is on the table.

9 February 2023

LSMBTG: Lamestream media echo chamber (LMEC-L) social media (SM) big tech tyrants (BT) and government (G)

If you enjoyed this article, then please REPOST or SHARE with others; encourage them to follow AFNN

Truth Social:
CloutHub: @AFNN_USA


Leave a Comment