There is a very real problem with any military budget reform that each branch gets a constant share of the total military budget pie. This agreement was forged for very real benefits (We really would prefer that our military spend their time thinking about fighting someone else, not each other). We are in a war that is driving up costs for our land forces. Per force, expenses for our other military branches go up.
Recruitment is also a major headache for our volunteer military. We are lowering the educational standards of our recruits and getting more lax about allowing criminals to enter our military. New recruits don’t have the skills to fight in today’s military. This isn’t good.
What to do? Task the Navy and Air Force with developing free magnet schools. Let them do all the recruiting they want. (Courses studying Greek war heroes, why the constitution was worth fighting for, etc.) Just make sure that they turn out graduates that can function at a high level in today’s society. Target those performing in the bottom 40% of our population who have aptitude test scores that indicate significantly greater performance is possible. Enlistment should be voluntary on graduation.
Not only does this have the obvious benefit of reliving some pressure on school systems, more subtle benefits may develop. It can create a career path for vets. Teachers and teacher’s aides qualified to run extras like the rifle club or sports activities will be needed. The full range of support services needed to run a modern school can be enlarged to accommodate any staff needs. That is, vets employed will have a support structure and the facilities can be used, after hours, for all vets in the area.
Troubled youth crime may be cut – not only are successful students less likely to lash out in frustration – make it an attendance requirement that the students stay clean.
The military has an honored tradition of raising standards of their recruits. Let’s apply this skill to our children, to everyone’s benefit.
Just a Thought.