The Battle to Fill the Ranks

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As war in Iraq continues, recruiters are having a tough time selling their “Army of One” to the many. The army has recently loosened its age limits and fattened its signing bonuses, along with promising to pay for college and high tech training; all while military ad campaigns talk about service, patriotism, and love of country.

On the ground, recruiters are aggressively targeting high schools and colleges, sponsoring NASCAR events and perhaps even a baseball team. But any red, white and blue ad campaign can’t hide the fact that joining the military today may mean a ticket to Iraq and an indefinite number of return trips.

With several branches of the military facing recruitment shortfalls, America’s volunteer force is facing its biggest challenge since the draft ended in 1973. Paychecks or patriotism — the battle to build tomorrow’s army.


William Cala, Superintendent of the Fairport Central School District

Christopher Gelpi, Associate Professor of Politics at Duke University

Ret. Colonel Bob Killebrew.