Archive for July 30, 2022

The news media has finally jumped on the military recruitment crisis. The smart, intelligent, witty and dashingly handsome readers of this blog that look just like you already knew it was coming because of all the previous reporting here. But let’s say you weren’t so smart, intelligent, witty and perhaps only average in your looks. Let’s say that this not-nearly-as-good version of you wanted to know the truth, because the media likes to blow up a small story into something big to make money. Would there be a way to figure out if the military was really struggling to recruit new members?

Well, stand-in dumber-version-of-you reader, there is, because you can use the military’s readily available instructions to figure out just that! But first, we need a primer on military recruitment and promotion.

Military manpower is a big pyramid scheme, with lots of young blood on at the base of the pyramid, and fewer crusty old folks at the top ranks. Most military members only serve for 3-5 years, getting out for the much greener pastures in the civilian world. The one’s that stay in have some pretty good incentives: guaranteed pay, a pretty cool mission, a chance to get skills and experience on fancy, taxpayer funded weapon systems, and that sweet, sexy uniform that entices all the ladies.

Well, and the guys too, I mean, its 2022 and we have to be all inclusive.

Anyway, this pyramid scheme of manpower relies on a big influx every year of new recruits. We’ve already talked at length about why normal recruiting isn’t working. If recruitment sags, the military has other tricks to keep its numbers up, namely by making it more difficult for people to leave. They can do this by not letting people leave early, or even go so far as to force people to stay.

Let’s say that hypothetically we recruit a lot more people then we really need. Instead of showing them the door, the military can allow other members a chance to leave early. OR the military can tighten down on physical fitness standards, which they can use to boot people out. OR they can create some new stupid rule that will piss people off, which will cause more existing members to leave. These rules are like the handle on a water faucet that you can adjust so the water flow is just right.

Knowing this, guess which way the handle is moving?

Let’s look at the Navy, which releases NAVADMIN messages. These are bland, dull administrative things that nobody except slightly-inebriated Sailors actually read. At the end of June, the Navy released NAVADMIN 142/22 titled FISCAL YEAR 2022 ACTIVE COMPONENT ENLISTED FORCE MANAGEMENT ACTIONS (CORRECTED COPY), because I guess the admin person made a mistake and had to correct it.

Doesn’t inspire much confidence in our administrative people!

Anyway, let’s read the message.

1.  The purpose of this NAVADMIN is to implement key force 
management personnel policy actions in the enlisted active component 
to ensure the Navy remains fully manned and operationally ready. 
References (a) and (b) are hereby updated for enlisted personnel. 
For those who have decided to separate, please review reference (c) 
for additional career progression opportunities in the Navys 
Selected Reserves.  Navy encourages all qualified Sailors to stay 
Navy.  See your career counselor for more information.  While we 
strive to retain all qualified Sailors, commanding officers should 
continue to exercise their obligation to document performance and 
adjust their recommendation for retention, accordingly. 
 
2.  Sailors are encouraged to look for selective reenlistment bonus 
(SRB) updates frequently to take advantage of the opportunities 
published on the Navy’s SRB website at: 
https://www.mynavyhr.navy.mil/References/Pay-Benefits/N130D/. 
Please keep in mind SRB levels may be adjusted up or down depending 
on rating health. 

OK, not much here. Maybe this section was put in to put the inebriated Sailors to sleep?

3.  Early Separation Cancellation.  Effective immediately, all 
enlisted early out programs and new time in grade requirement 
waivers are hereby cancelled.  Service commitments such as 
enlistment contracts, service obligations for accepting permanent 
change of station orders, advancements, bonuses, training, etc., 
will be fulfilled.  Service members experiencing difficulty in 
fulfilling obligated service requirements are encouraged to work 
with their chain of command and respective detailers to examine 
available alternatives to complete their obligation. 
    a.  Commanding officers still retain the 90-day early out 
authority for policy outlined in references (d) and (e). 
    b.  Service members previously granted approval will not be 
affected by this policy change. 
    c.  Service members interested in pursuing commissions in the 
Navy are still encouraged to submit requests.  As always, these 
requests will be considered on a case by case basis. 
    d.  United States Space Force applicants are not affected by 
this policy change.

Well, that’s a change! No early-out options. Definitely closing the faucet handle.

4.  Delaying separation or retirement.  The Navy is accepting 
applications from enlisted personnel who desire to delay their 
separation or retirement.  The deadline for application submission 
is 31 August 2022. 

How about that! Did you want to rethink getting out? Well, now you can, just delay that separation or retirement for another year! Unless you didn’t take the COVID vaccine, in which case you better be part of the class-action lawsuit or else you’re out on the street!

The rest of the NAVADMIN is the dirty details of who can or can’t apply. Another NAVADMIN to look at is 172/22, titled: ACTIVE DUTY ENLISTED ADVANCE-TO-POSITION PROGRAM UPDATE. No corrected copy, looks like they got this one right the first time. I’ll summarize it: enlisted members can apply for billets one paygrade above their current one.

That sounds good right? Let people take on more challenges early? You might think that, until you realize the reason this is happening is because there isn’t enough people at that paygrade to fill all the slots…meaning the Navy is desperate to fill them, even if it means sticking otherwise not-as-qualified individuals in there to meet their numbers.

By the Navy’s own admission, it is hitting a personnel wall that it can’t seem to scale. One contributing reason might be all the “smart people” in the room telling us we could use part-time people, cut back on pay and benefits, and magically we’d have a better, cheaper Navy. I’m not making this up, see every single report that Beth Asch authored at RAND. She’s one of many “smart people” that writes up nice looking reports about policy that influences many people in Washington DC, but don’t seem to understand the nuances associated with a job where you actively kill people while they try to kill you. Since the military services did put into place many of RAND’s recommendations, how’s that working out?

The next steps I expect to see is the military suspending physical fitness separations. After that, expect waivers galore for things like tattoos and prior non-violent felonies. After that…expect stop-loss and calls to bring back the draft.

2023 is going to be even worse. So buckle up and hope we don’t go to war with China.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency, because those people will simply point you to some RAND report to justify their actions.

If you liked this post, why don’t you share it with big sites so we get a traffic bump? Even better, you can buy one of my books for you or a friend.

In Stacy McCain’s post on the Biden Economy there was one bit that jumped out at me:

Magical thinking: “Corporate minimum tax!” This will miraculously solve all the budget problems, Democrats expect us to believe and, considering that 38.2% of voters actually approve of the job Biden’s doing as president, there are tens of millions of Americans stupid enough to believe anything. 

Now, in my opinion this 38.2% consists of three distinct groups.

The first group are the greased. These are the people who directly benefit from the Biden graft. The companies that are given subsidies, the cities that those companies are based in, the activist class and of course all those who suck at the government tit, many of them already obscenely wealthy and a key part of the Democrat base (which is why you don’t hear media talking about “cooperate welfare” anymore) Biden is their guy doing their bidding so they’re all for him.

The second is the thug class, if you’re a criminal in Biden’s America you are pretty much being given a free pass in blue cities. If you’re running a high level criminal enterprise the Biden policies mean that your street thugs are playing with house money. The Tony Soprano’s of the world are getting their 10% with ease and the various thug classes who are literally getting away with murder know who to thank, cripes they’re even getting recruited by Democrat activists to thug on their behalf. To them the Biden years are the days of wine and roses.

To those people the Biden Administration is doing exactly what they want

But there is one more group out there and to understand this group we go back to USA today from five years ago and their grading of the first 100 days of Donald Trump Presidency by Glenn Reynolds:

A+ Not Hillary: President Trump was elected in no small part because he was not Hillary Clinton, and he’s done an A+ job of not being Hillary Clinton during his first 100 days. And as additional news about Hillary’s shambolic presidential campaign has come out — including revelations that she combed through staff emails from her previous campaign and assigned people “loyalty scores” — the importance of having a president who is not Hillary Clinton seems even greater than it did in November. And, I’m happy to say, I expect President Trump to go on not being Hillary Clinton for the next four (or eight!) years. A+ job, Mr. President!

and his grade at one year

A+ Still Not Hillary: Last year, I graded President Trump as an A+ because he was doing an outstanding job of not being Hillary Clinton. A year after his inauguration, he’s even more not-Hillary. And the childish and irrational effort by Democrats to escape into fantasies of undoing the 2016 election via impeachment or 25th Amendment medical disability demonstrates that their party isn’t ready to govern anytime soon. Aside from not being Hillary, Trump has some actual accomplishments, and not just in terms of judicial appointments. The tax bill passed, the economy is already benefiting, and the results are already showing up in workers’ paychecks. Trump has exceeded his goal of undoing two regulations for every new regulation passed, and he’s on track to shrink the federal government significantly — though not enough — in his first term.  As a libertarian, my expectations for Trump were pretty modest, and in this respect, he has already  surpassed them. And, with Trump in the White House, the plague of sexual abuse in the news and entertainment worlds has been brought to light, when it almost certainly would have been kept quiet under Hillary so as to avoid embarrassing associations with Bill Clinton’s past offenses. Every day when Trump wakes up, he’s not Hillary, and that’s the main reason he is in the White House now. 

Glenn in his 1 year review of Trump could point to actual accomplishments which continued to grow over the four years of the Trump presidency which is, in my opinion, the single most successful first term of a presidency since James K. Polk.

Now if you ask me, you can count the accomplishments of Joe Biden on the thumbs of one toe, but in fairness there is one accomplishment that can’t be taken away from him, something that to a large group of Americans, is significant.

He’s not Donald Trump.

For those Americans no amount of suffering from high gas prices, to inflation, to crime in the streets, to shortages of everything from Baby Food to Tampons to even the spaying of their own children and the complete denial and redefining of reality for political gain mean nothing, compared to the fact that Donald Trump is not president. Suddenly all that they’ve been put through becomes not a failure of leadership but a virtue, they are suffering, but Trump is not president. It gives them self esteem, virtue without actually being virtuous and in their mind Joe Biden has given that to them.

They’re lives and suffering are martyrdom for the sake of NeverTrump, alas they will discover that unlike Baptism by Blood, it will not wash away sins.