The Train(ing) Wreck of American Business
New hires--in the front door and out the back in 90 days
Max Boot is a columnist and author whose main gig now is a tank thinker--Olin Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
In my opinion, Max Boot is dead wrong.
I spent two years in the United States Army as a draftee (US51428619) from 1958-1960. I was in awe of the Army then. I am in awe of it now. And I took with me into civilian life many of the lessons I learned in the Army. They have stood me in good stead for 45 years.
Contrary to Boot's pessimism, the United States Army can successfully train all but the most unregenerate, low-IQ grifters and change lives, turning out highly productive men and women who will have pride, bearing and, very important, marketable skills.
To imply that the Army is incapable of creating extraordinary professionals from dross is to defame a magnificent institution that kept America safe and free for 230 years.
Boot--indeed all of American business--can benefit greatly from understanding the Army philosophy of continuous training.
Boot is correct when he says Army recruiting efforts are in trouble--and with good reason. The Bush administration ignored the Powell Doctrine of engaging in a military campaign only when the force committed is so overwhelming that victory would be a slam-dunk with a minimum of casualties. As of this writing (June 22, 2005),U.S. military casualties in Iraq total 1,722 dead and 12,762 wounded. With a total force of roughly 130,000, a soldier in Iraq runs a 10 percent risk of being killed or wounded. Not only are young men and women skittish about joining the Army, but recruiters are facing powerful opposition from parents.
As a result, the Army is settling for 10 percent of new recruits that do not have a high school diploma and offering a signing bonus of $40,000 along with the possibility of $50,000 in home mortgage help for those who sign up for eight years. Plus, of course the GI Bill that offers help with college tuition is still in force.