In 2008, when I was an infantry company commander in charge of over 140 soldiers in Baghdad, I saw firsthand how the declining number of volunteers is hurting the military. Thirty-six of my men were forced to deploy even though their terms of service were up, a controversial military policy known as “stop loss” or the “back door draft.” To meet the bare minimum number of soldiers, my unit took men who were medically unfit to fight. I had soldiers that could not leave our compound because they were medically prohibited from wearing their body armor or classified as mentally unfit. I had soldiers taking anti-depression, sleeping, anxiety and other drugs. I had a mentally unstable private viciously attack his sergeant, causing lifelong damage, and multiple other problem soldiers that detracted from the combat performance of my unit. This was symptomatic throughout the Army.He makes some valid points but he skips over the core reason for the decline in the number of able men willing to join today's Army. They heard about the defective sergeants and the crazy privates and the featherbed 'soldiers' who draw the same pay but don't do any of the work. They heard it from their peers who joined or whose brothers joined and most of them still have a high regard for the truth of the things their peers share with them.
Sane individuals with talent and intelligence won't voluntarily associate themselves with an Army that stuffs its ranks with losers and then deploys them all together where the good ones wage war but are tormented every minute of the day by the losers among them that do nothing but make more work for the ready, willing and able and a high command more interested in PC and the feelings of the enemy than for winning the war.
I would not recommend to any of my nephews that they join the Army and, unfortunately, not the Navy or the Air Force. That kind of hurts after spending 30 years in the USN with a father who served 26 years in the Army and a sister who served in the Air Force and a family that has fought this country's battles since Bunker Hill.
Tailhook used to be a venue and a forum for sharing the truth of things now with the old farts that had gone before and were now running Naval Aviation. I'm not sure it still works like that after the debacle in Las Vegas. Surface Warfare never had a forum for juniors to share the rancid truth with the senior leaders of the navy which is how we got things like the Littoral Combat Ship or the myth that was the FFG. Nobody ever had a chance to stand up and be heard and nothing has changed on that front.
I made the decision long ago to simply deploy without the sick, the twisted and the useless. Operating undermanned, even severely undermanned, was more appealing than the alternative. When you go into battle you want to go surrounded by people you can count on.