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Another reason for military recruiting shortages

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Just a heads-up on military manpower to ensure you are cautious about attributing personnel shortages to disgust with the war ("Uncle Sam wants YOU for the U.S. Army (really, really badly)," by Mosi Secret, March 26).

Most recruitment issues derive from demographic issues—primarily, the baby bust. Much of Ronald Reagan's foreign and domestic policy addressed a foreseeable labor shortage produced by low birthrates in the '80s and '90s. Offshoring and a host of other prophylactic steps minimized the impact of labor shortage everywhere but the military—in spite of Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all reducing the size of the military.

The hazard of assuming that military shortages derive from disgust with the war (and among commissioned officers, that is a large part of shortage) is that the shortage ends in 2010 when the "reflex baby boom" hits the job market. We've been building schools like crazy to house these little rascals for the past 15 years, and now they're about to enter the job market.

Cannon fodder will get right cheap shortly.

Thanks for the statistical summary.

Tom Magnuson
Hillsborough

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