Kerry's DraftLots of smoke has been blown by the Democrats, started by Charlie Rangel as a means to get back the attention he used to deserve as the Chairman of the ways and Means Committee in the House. Now the Kerry spinners are trying to make the issue seem real, but in fact are merely revealing their lack of understanding about how our twenty first century military functions. Kerry's last direct contact with the military was in Vietnam, and Rangel's was in Korea. These men seem to be laboring under the belief, if indeed they even believe what they are saying, that a troop can be put in the field after eight weeks training, given a rifle and told where to shoot.
Today's military is a highly professional force that uses some highly complicated equipment. Most troops need a year to train adequately to function in the technological battlefield, and the government invests about a million dollars each to train each one. The idea that a draft could assume such positions also shows how little these liberals know about business and economics. Draftees usually have served two or three years. Kerry's current proposal for national service is for a two year commitment. Yet it would be folly to spend so much to train a man who would serve for so little time. But the most inexperienced personnel manager could tell you how to deal with this problem. It is far preferable to merely increase incentives, both at the recruitment stage and the retention stage. For a troop who will cost over two million dollars for a four year commitment, is it better to incentivize him $20,000 or spend another two million for another troop who will not be ready for action for another year?
Now, it must be understood that these costs are very hard to pin down. The pentagon admits that they themselves have no idea what the hard costs are for training and retention. And, of course, for each troop there are many administrative people, cooks and others that can be trained more cheaply and faster. But whatever the numbers, it is still cheaper, in any business, to spend to retain already trained personnel than to attract, hire, train and motivate new employees. In technical positions, this is even more important. Right now, salaries of active duty personnel are too low, almost scandalously so. Once the election is over, the Congress can take up this issue. In the meantime, anyone who is afraid of an impending draft, and I am talking of over half of the high school students in a recent poll, is being fooled. The only chance we have of having a draft in the forseeable future is to elect John Kerry, and even then, it's not gonna happen.