Thursday, July 14, 2005

An Army of (No) One - by Nick Turse - thx GNN.tv

The following is a repost from the unyielding Gnn.TV and was reposted originally by Ryz..I was going to use info off this post from Nick Turse to throw my own experienc in getting recruited into the military in 1997, but after reading it I realized that the article by itself was enough...Who knows if anyone ever reads what I post here but it if nothing else its a testament to our struggle for progress and understanding to our societies' "class-draft" for the military...And recruiters are honestly a breed of scum that fit well into the ideology of this govt...They basically screw over other Americans by offering them Double-speak contracts that may look straight forward but are far from it....Anyway read up...

By Nick Turse
Republished from TomDispatch.com / Common Dreams
An Inside Look at the Military's Internet Recruiting War

It’s been a tough year for the U.S. military. But you wouldn’t know it from the Internet, now increasingly packed with slick, non-military looking websites of every sort that are lying in wait for curious teens (or their exasperated parents) who might be surfing by. On the ground, the military may be bogged down in a seemingly interminable mission that was supposedly “accomplished” back on May 1, 2003, but on the Web it’s still a be-all-that-you-can-be world of advanced career choices, peaceful pursuits, and risk-free excitement.

While there has been a wave of news reports recently on the Pentagon’s problems putting together an all-volunteer military, or even a functioning officer corps, from an increasingly reluctant public, military officials are ahead of the media in one regard. They know where the future troops they need are. Hint: They’re not reading newspapers or watching the nightly prime-time news, but they are surfing the web, looking for entertainment, information, fun, and perhaps even a future.

In addition to raising the maximum enlistment age, no longer dismissing new recruits out of hand for “drug abuse, alcohol, poor fitness and pregnancy,” allowing those with criminal records in, and employing such measures as hefty $20,000 sign-up bonuses (with talk of proposed future bonuses of up to $40,000, along with $50,000 worth of “mortgage assistance”) to coerce the cash-strapped to enlist in the all-volunteer military, one of the military’s favorite methods of bolstering the rolls is targeting the young – specifically teens – to fill the ranks.

What the military truly values is green teens. Not surprisingly, the Pentagon pays companies like Teenage Research Unlimited, which claims it offers its “clients virtually unlimited methods for researching teens,” to get inside kids’ heads. It was also recently revealed that the Department of Defense (DoD), with the aid of a private marketing firm, BeNow, has created a database of twelve million youngsters, some only 16 years of age, as part of a program to identify potential recruits. Armed with “names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers, individuals’ e-mail addresses, ethnicity, telephone numbers, students’ grade-point averages, field of academic study and other data,” the Pentagon now has far better ways and means of accurately targeting teens.

Military Culture JAMRS

BeNow and TRU, however, are just two of a number of private contractors working through JAMRS – the Pentagon’s “program for joint marketing communications and market research and studies” – to fill the ranks of our increasingly-less-eager-to-volunteer military. JAMRS claims that it’s only developing “public programs [to] help broaden people’s understanding of Military Service as a career option.” However, it also hires firms to engage in all sorts of not-for-public-consumption studies that are meant to “help bolster the effectiveness of all the Services’ recruiting and retention efforts.” Put another way, behind the scenes the military is in a frantic search for weak points in the public’s growing resistance to joining the armed services. Some of this is impossible to learn about because access to the studies via the JAMRS web portal is restricted. Should you visit and inquire about examining their research, you are told in no uncertain terms that “access is currently limited to certain types of users” – none of which are you.

What we do know, however, is that JAMRS is currently focusing on the following “areas of interest” in an attempt to bolster the all-volunteer military:

  • Hispanic Barriers to Enlistment: a project to “identify the factors contributing to under-representation of Hispanic youth among military accessions” and “inform future strategies for increasing Hispanic representation among the branches of the Military.”
  • College Drop Outs/Stop Outs Study: a project “aimed to gain a better understanding of what drives college students to… ‘drop out’ and determine how the Services can capitalize on this group of individuals (ages 18-24).”
  • Mothers’ Attitude Study: “This study gauges the target audience’s (270 mothers of 10th- and 11th-grade youth) attitudes toward the Military and enlistment.”

Read the rest of this article here

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