Skip to comments.Analysis: Study shows 41% drop in number of black Army recruits since 2000
Posted on 03/04/2005 3:17:23 PM PST by Flavius
The Armys wartime recruiting challenge is aggravated by a sharp drop in black enlistments over the last four years, which internal Army and Defense Department polls trace to an unpopular war in Iraq and concerns among blacks with Bush administration policies.
The Army is straining to meet recruiting goals in part because the number of black volunteers has fallen 41 percent from 23.5 percent of recruits in fiscal 2000 down steadily to 13.9 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2005.
Its alarming, said Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, commanding general of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky.
No single factor explains the drop, Rochelle said, but clearly the propensity of black youth to enlist is impacted by the war and increasingly by views of parents, teachers, coaches, clergy and other influencers.
The influencers of these youth are causing them to be less inclined to listen to what good the Army could do for them in the long run, said Rochelle, one of the Armys most senior black officers.
Officer recruiting is hit, too. Black enrollment in the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps program is down 36 percent since 2001.
The Marine Corps also reports a drop in black recruits but its racial data on recruits is now suspect due to a government policy, effective Jan. 1, 2003, that allows recruits and all new federal workers to decline to identify their race. The Army has found a way to continue to track accurately its racial data, said S. Douglas Smith, spokesman for the recruiting command.
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat whose New York City district includes Harlem, said he isnt too surprised by the Army recruiting data.
I have not found a black person in support of this war in my district, he said. The fact that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus emotionally, politically and vigorously opposes this war is an indication of what black folks think throughout this country.
Rangel also said there was overwhelming disappointment among blacks after Bush, in a disputed election, became president in 2001, and the disappointment plummeted after he declared war in Iraq.
Results of the Defense Departments own Youth and Influencer Polls, conducted last May, affirm that administration policies and the Iraq war have lowered the propensity of black youth to enlist, particularly in the Army and Marine Corps, the ground forces taking most of the casualties.
While the war reduced the likelihood of youth in general to join the military, says the Youth Poll report, Black youth reported being more negatively affected . Black youth were less supportive of U.S. troops presence in Iraq, less likely to feel the war was justified, more disapproving of the Bush administrations handling of foreign affairs and more disapproving of its use of U.S. military forces than were whites or Hispanics.
Black youth unemployment remains above 10 percent, higher than for Hispanics and double that of whites. Blacks also tend to view military pay as more attractive than do other racial groups.
In years past, such factors enticed a disproportionate number of African-American youth to see opportunity in the Army. In some years since the draft ended in 1973, the percentage of blacks among Army volunteers approached 30 percent.
In fiscal 2000, blacks still represented almost a quarter of Army recruits. That percentage fell to 22.7 in 2001, 19.9 in 02, 16.4 in 03, 15.9 in 04, and now to 13.9 percent through four months of fiscal 2005. No such decline has been seen among Hispanics or white recruits. Indeed, their percentages among Army recruits grew during the first Bush administration.
Because blacks are 14 percent of all recruit-age youth, their recruiting numbers remain acceptable, said Rochelle, proportional to blacks in society. But the steep drop in black recruits overall does hurt plans to grow the Army, he conceded. Congress has ordered a 30,000 increase in the number of active-duty soldiers by October 2007.
Rangel said many blacks still are enticed into service by benefits and cash incentives, which are rising sharply.
It has amazed me that, not withstanding the general feeling of the community, they still have enlisted and fought. When my [Guard and Reserve] outfits come home, these guys get their medals and theyre proud. But when Im called up [to speak], they cheer and stomp their feet, knowing that I fought against the war. Its inconsistent as hell.
Another Army-directed poll, the U.S. Military Image Study, is posted on a Defense Contracting Command Web site, likely by mistake. Based on interviews with 3,236 youth ages 16 to 24, this study says, Recruiting an all-volunteer Army in times of war is increasingly difficult.
While money for college remains a major motivator to enlist, the Iraq war leaves youth, particularly blacks, conflicted.
More African-Americans identify having to fight for a cause they dont support as a barrier to military service, the study found.
Fear of being killed or injured was the top reason to avoid service for 26 percent of youth in 2004, almost double the 14 percent reported in 2000.
actually, it largely seems a contrast of adventure/machoism(in lieu of patriotism) and education.
They would find themselves even more "inconvenienced" being sent to jail than drafted.
Do draft dodgers get worse prison treatment than your ordinary prisoner?
Here's my analysis of the problem. Unless you are already a patriotic person with an interest in the military, the prospect of Iraq & elsewhere doesn't look too great right now. Instead of black and white, let's look at in terms of Democrats and Republicans. Dems aren't as patriotic. I bet the rate of black enlistment tracks closely to Democrats in general. Once people get in, regardless of background, I think they become patriotic and like the services.
I firmly believe that if we ever do have a Congressionally declared WAR, that it will be of sufficient magnitude that the DRAFT will become necessary and we will have MASS defections to Canada and Europe
If we as a nation can suffer the attack of 911 and NOT have the RECRUITERS OFFICES FULL of volunteers then when will WE?
Does this mean that 26 percent are pansies?
I didn't say it would make for a strong Army. I said it would be funny. ;-) They could put them in pink body bags when they threw their grenades and ran under them in training.
Yes, we have too many weenies and pansies in the U.S. today.
That is because, like in France, most of the brave genes die in wars.
Amen! 911 was the worst attack we have ever suffered since the Civil War. I can't believe the press and the leftists have conspired to mimimize its import.
We don't know. Our government has been to wimpy to prosecute draft dodgers.
I think the recruits that are not signing on are not the recruits you would want anyways. Could it be those are the recruits who want only benefits but not any obligations?
Could it be that some of those potential recruits are some of the infamous "gang cliques" that have been commented upon from time to time?
I also wonder how many of those 41% are of the black moslems? I don't know.
the reason is socioeconomic. poor people would go for money, wealthier ones for the experience. sadly, few today seem to actually simply go to form a defense for the country.
I hope that this works out well.
I think there is a big reduction because we are at war and before those signing up didn't figure to really be in one.
"The Army is straining to meet recruiting goals in part because the number of black volunteers has fallen 41 percent from 23.5 percent of recruits in fiscal 2000 down steadily to 13.9 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2005. "
Is this because the number of black volunteers has fallen or the number of non-black volunteers has risen? It's probably a combination of both, but the author should tell us.
I thought the war was being fought by minorities.
"What will be funny is when the draft becomes necessary to fill the military..."
Don't forget, it was Charles Rangel himself who introduced this.
He should really, really, really be ashamed of himself. From his official bio "Congressman Rangel served in the U.S. Army from 1948-52, during which time he fought in Korea and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star."
These powerlusting dems have really gone over to the dark side since Bill Clinton occaisioned them to sell their souls. It is sad, but more than that, it is dangerous. I feel like we've got to vote every single one of them out of office.
I guess we are going to have to start drafting blacks into the military to fill all the affimative action minority personnel quotas.
For a generation the over-representation of Blacks in the military was interpreted as a reflection of limited alternatives in a White-dominated economy.
Now, under the GOP and President Bush, Blacks have more alternatives than at any time in American history. It is fully predictable that, if we are doing right by Black America, their membership in the military should shrink to about the 12-13% level of the proportion of Blacks in the overall population.
I consider this finding to be EXCELLENT NEWS for a racially just America.
(GOP and Bush to Black America: "C'Mon in, the water's fine!")
"The silly idea we needed to capture jungle to win, also cost thousands. Perhaps it was the disregard for the value of draftees lives that led to this."
All through the 60's and 70's I heard a lot about "hearts and minds," but I never heard anyone in authority say we "needed to capture jungle to win" in VietNam. And the majority of ground troops in VN were volunteers, not draftees.
Just keeping the record straight.
"I thought the war was being fought by minorities."
When I first read this, I thought, "You have to be kidding me." Then I thought, "Well, maybe this person doesn't know how things actually laid out in Viet Nam, that Blacks were not overrepresented. On the news, currently, you also get an image of the military that makes it seem as though the White guy is staying away."
It's not true. It is NOT true.
Myth: A disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.
86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. (CACF and Westmoreland)
See "Statistics about the Viet Nam War" at http://www.vhfcn.org/stat.html
Joining the military for the opportunities, training and education, not to mention the benefits, is one thing, but it's not a side gig for many; it's an honor, and, a duty.
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