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Thread: New source of high-quality recruits

  1. #1
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    Default New source of high-quality recruits

    Great news from the Wall Street Journal. Apparently thousands of Korean immigrants have gotten frustrated with the bureaucratic obstacle course that must be traversed in order to gain citizenship. So, they are utilizing a loophole: military service for fast-track citizenship. The program was intended to attract immigrants with high-value language skills, but it is also attracting high-quality Korean immigrants whose Korean language proficiency might not be quite what we were looking for, but are bringing other high-value skills and attributes.

    So many Koreans have applied, however, that the Army doesn't need them all.

    Koreans form the largest group among the 8,000 applicants for the program, launched on Feb. 23. Many have excellent credentials, including degrees in medicine and engineering. Almost all are veterans of South Korea's own compulsory military service.

    "The quality of these applicants has been phenomenal," says Lt. Col. Peter Badoian, the project officer for the pilot program. "But we didn't anticipate one immigrant community would respond so strongly."
    - via WSJ Online

    My only question is, what on Earth are they talking about when they say, "the Army doesn't need them all"? Do we have too many recruits with advanced degrees? Not enough new recruits who grew up sitting on a couch and playing video games? Are we looking to even out the ranks with people who can't pass the ASVAB?

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Thumbs up That is good news - especially given recent events

    My experience with ROK Marines back in the old Team Spirit exercise was very positive - they were razor sharp.

    History indicates this to be the norm. That they come with advanced education and a strong desire to be American citizens is even better.

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    My only question is, what on Earth are they talking about when they say, "the Army doesn't need them all"? Do we have too many recruits with advanced degrees? Not enough new recruits who grew up sitting on a couch and playing video games? Are we looking to even out the ranks with people who can't pass the ASVAB?

    Actually, I was talking to a recruiter the other day and the Army has surpassed it's goals so far this year. They have apparently stopped accepting GEDs and drop outs. As for having too many advanced degree candidates, I would imagine that it depends what the advanced degree is in.

    SFC W

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    As for having too many advanced degree candidates, I would imagine that it depends what the advanced degree is in.
    Understood, but I've had riflemen, automatic riflemen, team leaders, and squad leaders with masters degrees - a handful of them had multiple masters degrees. One of my first squad leaders, when I was a shiny new 2LT, was working on this PhD (in philosophy!). My concern is: Advanced degree? So what? That doesn't make the guy unqualified to do something that does not relate to his degree. Some of us (myself included) hope to NOT use our degrees in the Army. I hope that the recruiters are telling these guys, "we don't need any more people for ___ MOS, but have you considered an 11X enlistment to go to airborne and RIP immediately after IET?" Are they allowing people to go straight to SFAS? Have they lowered the rank requirement?

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    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    I mean, yeah, this is great that so many highly qualified people in this country are volunteering to serve. I'm more than aware of both the Army's recruiting woes over the past few years and how difficult it can be for long-time residents to attain American citizenship (my wife is from Europe). So this is good for both.

    My problem with this, however, is that the Army is now being forced by law to recruit foreigners to fill roles which are "vital to national security" because they aren't allowed to recruit patriotic American citizens who happen to be gay.

    I just think there's something fundamentally wrong with that.

    Because remember, the new recruiting policy isn't just aimed at linguists--a task for which the Koreans are specifically qualified. When it was announced, they said they were targeting people "to make up for chronic shortages of doctors, nurses and linguists."

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I think the comment was more about the Koreans taking up too many slots in the program and possibly crowding out Farsi or Arabic speakers who aren't quite as organized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    they aren't allowed to recruit patriotic American citizens who happen to be gay.
    Of course they can. Don't ask, don't tell. There were at least 3 gay Soldiers in one of my battalions and it was common knowledge that the female barracks on post had at least three dozen lesbians. It was actually a source of frustration for many of the male Soldiers who were annoyed at how protective the lesbians were of the barracks, making it difficult for the men to "introduce themselves" if you will. I always found this kind of funny - whenever I heard such a gripe, I would always ask, "is it so much of a hassle to drive downtown to the club and associate with women who do not live on base?" They always had a zinging retort: "but sir, what if you're on staff duty? Then you'll have to come pick us up from jail after we get arrested." Touche, young Soldier.

    The prohibition is on serving while being openly gay. There are lots of prohibitions. It is not a bar to service. It is a bar to conduct. There are lots of those associated with service.

    The paradox here is that...
    1. There is political motivation to encourage people to openly identify themselves by their sexuality
    2. Changing DADT will be seen as a shift in mainstream values to accepting open identification of one's self by one's sexuality
    3. Were it not for the political motivations underlying this shift for a change in policy, then the policy could quietly change with very little notice or fanfare
    4. But the political nature of the debate is what creates so much resistance to changing the DADT policy, because changing the policy will be perceived as a victory in a culturally divided political battle

    The military is perceived by many (at least recently) as the epitome of traditional American values - what is best about America. To bring about this change in the military is to send a strong message that America is changing and to use the military's policy change as a means of persuading people that the change is good, or at least acceptable. Some people don't want that change. Other people do. On both sides of the fence, the most fervent proponents and opponents have political motivations for their views and understand the significant persuasive effect of changing policy in order to induce the military to accept openly homosexual servicemembers. I think that is the true source of concern among the military. They do not want to be dragged into this ugly political nonsense. Unfortunately for them, it is not their call.
    Last edited by Schmedlap; 05-29-2009 at 01:54 PM. Reason: spelllling

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    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    DADT is certainly politically charged, but that fact alone isn't germane to the question of whether this policy makes sense or not. This is really simple: I'm arguing that it's better to first hire qualified Americans (who might be openly gay) for these "vital" positions than it is to hire foreigners. Are you saying that's wrong?

    The point is that there are Americans available to fill these positions without having to first recruit non-citizens.

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    As a general sweeping statement, I don't think it's correct.

    If someone born in another country wants to be an American and loves this country, then I am not concerned about the lack of citizenship. In such a case, I say take the most qualified person. Now if we're fresh out of straights to fill needed positions and we go searching other countries, when there happen to be gays in this country who are qualified and willing, that does sound backward.

    I don't think we've been faced with any situation where we're debating between foreign & straight versus American & gay. But even if that were the situation, DADT may not be germane to whether the policy makes sense, but it certainly would be germane to whether the policy is prudent. Whether or not a politically-charged policy should change is based more on prudence than whether something makes sense on paper.

    The debate reminds me of the early years of the insurgency. We would go out on patrol everyday and just tell each other, "don't these people get it? They say that they're fighting to force us to leave. If they would stop fighting, then we would leave. Instead, they just keep fighting, so we have to stay." It's the same dynamic with the "gay rights" lobby. If they truly cared about this policy change, rather than the persuasive effect that it would achieve in the larger debate, then they would just give it a rest. In a few years, it would be quietly revisited, in light of shortages of critical skills, and probably changed. Instead, they keep pushing the issue, which evokes push-back from those who see what larger goal political goal is being sought.

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    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    I don't think we've been faced with any situation where we're debating between foreign & straight versus American & gay.
    This is the first sentence of the AP article announcing the new policy:

    The Pentagon plans to recruit more foreigners in a fresh effort to make up for chronic shortages of doctors, nurses and linguists available for wartime duty.
    And here's the first sentence of an AP article written a year and a half earlier:

    Lawmakers who say the military has kicked out 58 Arabic linguists because they were gay want the Pentagon to explain how it can afford to let the valuable language specialists go.
    Apparently it can let them go because we'll just go out and hire some foreigners to replace them. This is a clear example of what I'm talking about. We literally kicked out 58 Arabic linguists only to turn around the next year and hire foreigners to fill the "chronic shortages." Aside from the debate over whether that's right or wrong, it's a waste of money in terms of training.

    Your example of how it goes in Iraq is on the mark, but I don't think it's a comparable situation. I'm not aware of any class of citizens in this country being granted civil rights without first having to publicly oppose the status quo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    This is the first sentence of the AP article announcing the new policy:



    And here's the first sentence of an AP article written a year and a half earlier:



    Apparently it can let them go because we'll just go out and hire some foreigners to replace them. This is a clear example of what I'm talking about. We literally kicked out 58 Arabic linguists only to turn around the next year and hire foreigners to fill the "chronic shortages." Aside from the debate over whether that's right or wrong, it's a waste of money in terms of training.

    Your example of how it goes in Iraq is on the mark, but I don't think it's a comparable situation. I'm not aware of any class of citizens in this country being granted civil rights without first having to publicly oppose the status quo.
    Just scored points with me. Good job troop. Though I agree to a large extent with what Schmedlap was saying about how the policy would evolve quietly if not politicized, but the entire gay/homosexual issue has been politicized so that may be wishful thinking.
    Reed
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    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    Apparently it can let them go because we'll just go out and hire some foreigners to replace them. This is a clear example of what I'm talking about. We literally kicked out 58 Arabic linguists only to turn around the next year and hire foreigners to fill the "chronic shortages." Aside from the debate over whether that's right or wrong, it's a waste of money in terms of training.
    I think you know better than that, especially if you have the dual experiences of having been a combat arms officer AND your current vocation which appears to require a more sophisticated understanding of the media than most people possess. There are more to these stories than the writer chooses to present. If I were still in, I would bet my next LES that the homosexual issue were an excuse to boot these individuals who were problem children for a range of other issues. I certainly don't believe for one moment that the story captures all or even most of the issue. I've seen gays serve with distinction. Their sexuality was not an issue. Had they been problem children, then I am sure that DADT would have been looked at as an option to get rid of them.

    Going off of memory alone - I recall when these stories first broke. The individuals getting booted were not the types of people who generally are drawn to the military. But when they discovered that their weapons would be their ears, tongues, and brains, rather than M-4s, and that they would get nice bonuses and cushy accomodations (Monterrey) then they got interested. But even in the less rigorously disciplined environment, they were still not accustomed to the regimented lifestyle - either due to their cultural backgrounds, their social backgrounds, or just a general lack of interest in formalities that involve standing up straight and yelling.

    I think you also realize that this is not an either-or situation. It's not, "oh crap, all the American recruits are gay, so let's shift all of our recruiting resources to immigrants." The fast-track citizenship was one avenue to pursue linguists - with the traditional recruiting methods still applying. If we stop recruiting non-citizens, I doubt that all of our linguist slots are all suddenly going to go unfilled. This is not a simplistic case of shipping linguist jobs overseas because we don't want gays. An either-or of hiring gays versus hiring immigrants is a false dilemma on par with hiring illegal immigrants or shipping jobs overseas. It might fly with Lou Dobbs or Jack Cafferty, but it is not accurate.

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    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    If I were still in, I would bet my next LES that the homosexual issue were an excuse to boot these individuals who were problem children for a range of other issues.
    I know about using DADT to get rid of problem children. I also know how straight soldiers will use the policy to try and get out of deploying. But if you have evidence or a link that demonstrates most of these chapters were conducted to boot problem children, I'd like to see it. Until then, you're just speculating. On the other hand, take the case of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach. Or of Maj. Margaret Witt. Or First Lt. Dan Choi. Were they problem children? I don't know. But I do know that they were all trained, combat-tested, and then drummed out of the service at a time when the military is hiring foreigners to make up for "chronic shortages" in certain positions. And these three certainly don't fit into your theory about troops who were "not accustomed to the regimented lifestyle."

    If you have counter-examples, I'm more than willing to consider shifting my position on this. But for now, I'm still sticking to my original point: that it's unhelpful to recruit foreigners to fill "chronic shortages" while at the same time booting Americans who serve in those same critical positions.

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    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    If you have counter-examples, I'm more than willing to consider shifting my position on this. But for now, I'm still sticking to my original point: that it's unhelpful to recruit foreigners to fill "chronic shortages" while at the same time booting Americans who serve in those same critical positions.
    A minor quibble, but American citizens booted from DLI are not replaced with foreigners. Foreigners cannot be granted security clearances and therefore cannot hold an MI MOS. They are usually brought in (if they possess a critical language skill) as MOS 09L. They would not be serving as 97-series (or 35-series, or 98 series) which those kicked out of DLI would be or would be going to school for after completion of their language training.
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    if you have evidence or a link that demonstrates most of these chapters were conducted to boot problem children, I'd like to see it. Until then, you're just speculating.
    Fair enough. But I'd be on equally specious grounds if I accepted the linked article as the whole story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    On the other hand, take the case of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach. Or of Maj. Margaret Witt. Or First Lt. Dan Choi. Were they problem children? I don't know.
    Nor do I. I guess we have to rely on our respective experiences to determine whether this passes the smell test. My Spidey sense says that there is more to the stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    But I do know that they were all trained, combat-tested, and then drummed out of the service at a time when the military is hiring foreigners to make up for "chronic shortages" in certain positions. And these three certainly don't fit into your theory about troops who were "not accustomed to the regimented lifestyle."
    I could say the same about some Soldiers who were given other than honorable discharges - guys who fought in OIF I and then, professionally speaking, crapped the bed thereafter. So what? Did they violate a policy? Did they know about the policy before they violated it? I think you can make a case that in times of war that certain policies should be relaxed or abolished. But, to do that, you need to show why the benefit of relaxing those policies outweighs the consequences that the leadership is concerned about (sucking the military into a domestic political battle; discplinary issues that the media and politicians don't seem to worry about but military leaders apparently do worry about; basic inability to abide by a policy, even if it is not quite PC or well thought out, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Friedman View Post
    If you have counter-examples, I'm more than willing to consider shifting my position on this. But for now, I'm still sticking to my original point: that it's unhelpful to recruit foreigners to fill "chronic shortages" while at the same time booting Americans who serve in those same critical positions.
    I don't think that I'm going to shift your position because it appears that you are concerned about one issue (gays in the military / DADT) and looking for some instance to demonstrate why that issue must be addressed (DADT is causing us to recruit foreigners instead of Americans). In doing so, you are arguing a false dilemma (foreigner or American) and oversimplifying the issue. Suppose that I suspend my skepticism and concede every matter of fact that you have presented. Your argument is weaker than the sum total of your facts. You choose to portray this as recruiting foreigners while booting Americans. Even if that is an accurate description of the situation, it simplifies it to the point of irrelevance. Why are the Americans booted? Why are the foreigners hired? Are any Americans being hired and not booted? If so, why? And, as noted above, if DADT should be relaxed, suspended, changed, or abolished, then you are not making the right argument to support this. You need to address the concerns that underlie the policy, not a false dilemma straight out of a Lou Dobbs report (foreigners vs Americans).

    If you are just testing out an argument and looking for feedback, I would say that your argument would be solid gold if you argued it on a morning news program or CNN or a Sunday talk show. This is great rhetorical stuff. The messages that people would take away from it would probably be (1) Gays are the victims of foreign outsourcing, (2) Gay rights = American pride, and (3) End DADT and win the war.
    Last edited by Schmedlap; 05-30-2009 at 12:42 AM.

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    Council Member Brandon Friedman's Avatar
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    This is hardly the only issue with which I'm concerned. It warrants attention now, however, because it's one of the few defense policies currently at a tipping point. And it's relevant in terms of any debate where we're talking about the military going to unusual lengths to make up for chronic personnel shortages. That's why I brought it up.

    Nevertheless, I think I've made my case, so I'll leave it at that.

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    Council Member AlexTX ret's Avatar
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    Cool Is this an argument over foreigners or Gays or what?

    Quote Originally Posted by IntelTrooper View Post
    A minor quibble, but American citizens booted from DLI are not replaced with foreigners. Foreigners cannot be granted security clearances and therefore cannot hold an MI MOS. They are usually brought in (if they possess a critical language skill) as MOS 09L. They would not be serving as 97-series (or 35-series, or 98 series) which those kicked out of DLI would be or would be going to school for after completion of their language training.
    This is the way it always has been. I don't see them changing it anytime soon. Also, the enlistment of foreigners fits the general tendency in all civilian fields to do the same. It better to hire a doctor or nurse fom another country and not create the training programs so American citizens can fill the job.

    This point of foreigners being used in the military has allways been done in times of failing enlistment goals. I know for a fact it was used heavily in the Vietnam years. I have a different perspective on the problem. Is a foreigner better than a criminal, the over aged or the profiled? I have no answer myself. I'm only asking the question. But our enlistment goals must be filled. (they haven't been lately) how do you fill them if you can't get the best America has to offer.

    As for Gays in the military, I joined the Army as a 2lt in 1966 and served till after GW1. There were always men and woman who were different. They didn't threaten my sexuality. Go to Bangkok on RR and see what you get there. However, President Clinton tried to staighten this mess out and got his *ss handed to him on a plate. DADT was the result. And I'm sure the ultra-right would do the same to Obama if he tries to fix it now.

    14 countries have restructured their policies about homosexuality and none of them have come to regret their decisions. Maybe it is time for us to wake up and smell the coffee.
    Last edited by AlexTX ret; 05-30-2009 at 02:33 AM. Reason: typos
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