Military Recruiting Crisis
Michelle Malkin highlights the concerns of a milblogger in Iraq called greywar about the shortfalls that the Army and, uncharacteristically, the Marines are having in meeting recruiting goals. He argues that the reason we need such a large force at all is poor intelligence,
If the intelligence picture of Iraq had been more complete the former regime elements who jumpstarted the insurgency would have been captured or killed within days or weeks of the fall of Baghdad largely obviating the need for extensive occupation forces. More extensive intelligence would also result in a smoother occupation by zeroing in on insurgents before they can carry an attack plan to fruition. Success against asymmetrical forces depends more heavily on intelligence indications by an order of magnitude than conventional warfare operations do.
While improvements in the intelligence community are certainly needed–when haven’t they been, really–this oversimplifies the problem. Even phenomenal intelligence doesn’t substitute for the need for manpower. Take, for example, World War II, when the Allies had the ability to intercept and decipher both the German military code and Japanese naval code, Enigma and Magic, respectively. Even with that tremendous advantage, we still had to fight the war at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.
Further, it’s unrealistic to expect that we’ll ever have the level of intelligence knowledge greywar expects. Even if we had a robust human intelligence (read: spies) program in the Arab world, we’re unlikely to be able to achieve the degree of penetration into terrorist groups and loosely-formed guerrila organizations that would be necessary to give us the information needed to stop attacks before they occur.
Phil Carter analyzes the recruiting situation quite well in two posts on “The limits of the all-volunteer force model [I and II].” He explains quite well the difficulty in recruiting a large force during wartime. Even with increased financial incentives and lowered enlistment standards, we’re not hitting our goals.