Monday, February 18, 2008

If The Army Ain't Broken...

Then why are we buying houses to fix it? US taxpayers are laying out $40,000 for a down payment on new recruits houses or to fronting them with seed money to set up their own gig. From August 2004 to April 2005, Army bonuses doubled maxing out at around $20,000. This and other incentives coupled with declining re-enlistment couldn't keep pace with the Army's needs. Especially when the DOD kept lowering quotas to avoid the public embarrassment that comes with consistently missing recruitment goals.

The solution? The Army Advantage FundTMnow being test marketed in Albany, Montgomery (AL), Cleveland, Seattle and San Antonio. (Bad news for residents of these five towns as they are clearly well ahead of the recession curve, no?). The Boston Globe has the deets on the DOD's sales pitch :
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, who was in Albany Wednesday promoting the pilot program, said it will help the Army compete for high school graduates and recognize soldiers in a time of conflict.

"The Army Advantage Fund will ensure that the quality of life of our soldiers and their families equals the substantial quality of service that they give to the nation," said Freakley, who is responsible for recruiting.
Note to prospective recruits: If an officer named "Freakley" ever comes a calling...RUN! Run until you cannot run no more.

Listen, I'm all for giving active duty soldiers the best this country has to offer: the best health care, the best education options, the best future. I'm also all about not talking advantage of people and needlessly putting them in harm's way.

I can't help but wonder how many of these "newbies" will make it back in enough of one piece to enjoy the hard won fruits of their labor.


**Update: Bush gives with one hand and takes away with the other: No Funds in Bush Budget For Troop-Benefits Plan?