December 3rd, 2009
12:48 PM ET

Uncle Sam is getting picky

Despite two wars, President Obama's 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan and the Army's goal to swell its ranks by 15,000 this fiscal year, potential recruits are finding that it's a lot tougher to sign up, according to

"Military recruiting is through the roof," said Mackenzie Eaglen, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. "In fact, they're turning people away."

The dismal job market has put the armed forces in an enviable position. Unemployment is at a 26-year high of 10.2%, and the U.S. economy has lost 7.3 million jobs since the start of 2008. This has prompted many Americans to consider the military for work, despite the prospect of armed combat in Afghanistan or Iraq.

"It's just like any industry, when there's a glut of employees vying for a certain number of jobs, the employer can be a little bit more choosey," said Army spokesman Wayne Hall, a civilian at the Pentagon. "That's just the nature of supply and demand."

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Yeah, i completely agree Daniel. I've never a been competent in academics; i only have a ged because I was homeschooled ... but I workout all the time, and never had a problem sleeping out in the woods, or backpacking.

    This issue exists because the Military has become more sophisticated in their methods and the technology they use ... it's no place for illiterate (tough) hillbillies anymore.

    May 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kana

    At the present time all branches of the US military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines & Coast Guard) are participating in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This involes boots on the ground from all branches.

    In the past some of branches have had difficulty meeting thier recruitment quotas and in some case lowered their requirement standards for enlistment as well as increased the age for new recuits in order to meet their numbers. In my opinion some of these past allownaces should only be temoroary. As always all recruits should be thoroughly screened for fitness in the service.

    At a time when the military is looking to increase its forces, keep in mind, that in the past our Government has closed bases at home as well as denied re-enlistments in order to reduce headcount.

    At a time of great unemployment, enlisting in the military will help many financialy as well as give many new skills they can use if and when they decide to get out.

    We should all remember the words of President John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you , ask what you can do for your country."

    December 4, 2009 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. Donald Brazeal

    Today's enlisted personel have the highest percentage of college grads than any time his history. The day's of the low IQ are over. Today's warriors ,and the weapons used are more sophisticated. Our nations military does not need to open it doors up to those who can not even pass the ASVAB test.

    December 4, 2009 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Josh

    Remember that this comes after years of nearly 'desperate' recruiting. Responding to Daniel Swart's comments, the ranks are already quite full of soldiers with tough backgrounds. Some are excellent, others are not. And while, this is not an ideal situation for the upcoming class of 2010, it helps repair the damage of our past recruiting. Furthermore, lets not get carried away, the Army has always been a place for the underprivileged, past, present and future.

    For the Army to open its doors to all, then we would have to have more funding and obtain congressional approval for 'FULL' Mobilization (But not 'TOTAL' that's the next step). As we approach our maximum force structure we are not allowed to expand due to rules set by congress.

    December 4, 2009 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel Swart

    I believe that our military is being picky at a time when we shouldn’t be and by continuing to accept recruits who join only for financial reasons we are weakening our military. They should screen applicants and only accept those who are joining because they want to be solders and not because they need money. Having a squeaky clean record and perfect grades doesn’t guarantee a good solder. Our best solders are tough inside and come from tough backgrounds and don’t necessarily have the best of grades. They have seen more hard times than your average American and are more adaptable than your more privileged applicants who have been shielded from the harsh realities of life.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |