Dismantling the School-to-Soldier Pipeline

Nancy Cruz, Barbara Harris, Rick Jahnkow, and  Seth Kershner | Originally Published in Jacobin Magazine on October 18, 2019


The National Defense Act of 1916 created the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (rotc), which operates at the university level, along with Junior rotc, which operates at the high school level. At first, JROTC was kind of like rotc’s unwanted stepchild. There were only a couple hundred JROTC units across the country until the mid-1960s.
The program really started to expand in earnest once the draft ended in 1973. Between 1971 and 1974, enrollment in Army JROTC increased by 21 percent, Air Force JROTC increased by 50 percent, and Navy JROTC increased by more than 100 percent. High schools became the answer to the Pentagon’s manpower problems.
Anyone under the age of eighteen should not be recruited or be part of the military system. I believe this is a United Nations protocol, and in my view the United States doesn’t follow it.

Despoja "Tu cuerpo" de la Máquina de guerra - in English

CODEPINK, en asociación con una serie de grupos de paz y desarme, ha lanzado una campaña de desinversión para alentar a las universidades, organizaciones religiosas, fondos de jubilación, fondos mutuos, inversores privados y otras instituciones financieras en los Estados Unidos a tomar medidas para reducir los violentos conflictos mundiales. y frenar la hipermilitarización de nuestro mundo al deshacerse de la máquina de guerra de los Estados Unidos. La desinversión de War Machine significa la desinversión (eliminación de activos invertidos) de las compañías que obtienen sus ganancias al suministrar y beneficiarse de las intervenciones militares de los Estados Unidos, las expansiones y la militarización de nuestras calles. En otras palabras, estamos pidiendo la desinversión en las empresas que reciben grandes ganacias por matar.

La Red Nacional de Oposición a la Militarización de la Juventud está extendiendo esta desinversión más allá de cómo apoyamos la vasta y debilitante industria de la guerra con nuestros dólares para incluir la idea de desinvertir nuestros cuerpos. Por supuesto, desde un punto de vista humanista, su cuerpo no es un activo financiero, pero como tantas cosas en nuestro mundo contemporáneo, hemos sido reducidos de ciudadanos a consumidores. Y los militares nos tienen en cuenta en términos financieros: el costo de mantener nuestro entrenamiento, despliegue y, con demasiada frecuencia, nuestra salud de ser utilizados como soldados en guerras y conflictos interminables.

Once Again, the US Military Wants Your Kids

Jonah Walters / Jacobin Magazine -

240 High school students attend a two-day challenge designed to heighten Marine Corps awareness. Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images

Military recruiters understand that widespread joblessness is good for enlistment. They celebrate the arrival of “Sergeant Hard Times,” recognizing that misery is the best motivator.

The corona virus crisis has been a double-edged sword for military recruitment in the United States. On the one hand, the tightening of the labor market contributed to higher rates of retention than the Army brass expected, meaning that many soldiers decided to reenlist this spring rather than pursue civilian employment when their terms of service expired. On the other hand, recruiting stations across the country have had to shut down to comply with social distancing guidelines, limiting recruiters’ access to young people and inhibiting the “kneecap-to-kneecap” conversations recruiters widely acknowledge to be essential to their work.

Less than one percent of the Armed Forces’ target demographic — seventeen- to twenty-four-year-olds — is actively interested in a military career. After a “kneecap-to-kneecap” encounter with a recruiter, whether at a recruiting station or a school event, probability of enlistment climbs to more than 50 percent, according to the Army.

The reasons for this have been well-documented by anti-recruitment activists for decades. Recruiters, who are expected to meet regular enlistment quotas, aggressively pursue young people who express interest, generally attempting to separate them from parents, teachers, counselors, and others who might advocate for civilian careers.

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