... today Army ROTC programs are concentrated in the South and the Midwest at the expense of more populous and diverse metropolitan areas. As of 2004, according to an analysis of military data from the nonpartisan Population Reference Bureau, those two regions produced 59 percent of new Army officers.As a Southerner, it makes me culturally happy. Like I have said before - I have much more in common with a black person from Mississippi and a child of Cuban immigrants from Miami than I have with a dude names Erik from Minnesota. That being said, it doesn't mean that it is healthy for the military or the nation that a predominance of those in the military come from the skin-cancer belt. I don't think we need a quota system - that whole concept gives me the willies - but we should make sure we equal effort and opportunity to the taxpayers who make it all possible.
A clear example of this shift is New York City. For the past 19 years, the city of 8 million people has been served by only two Army ROTC programs within its five boroughs, at Fordham University in the Bronx and St. John's University in Queens, which together receive roughly the same resources as the ROTC program at Texas A&M. Though the St. John's and Fordham student populations combined are just under 23,000 to Texas A&M's 38,000, those programs serve what's known as the entire "catchment" area of New York. That is the largest university student population in the country -- 605,000, according to the Census Bureau -- but in 2006, the New York City programs graduated only 34 new Army officers. The Army also offers ROTC programs at Seton Hall and Rutgers universities, in New Jersey, and at Hofstra University, in Long Island, to serve the New York area, but the lengthy commute time makes them unrealistic for many students in the city.
Alabama, with 4.7 million residents, has 10 Army ROTC programs -- the same number it had before the wave of closures began in 1989. Next door, Mississippi, with a population of 2.9 million, has five ROTC programs and has lost only one since '89. Utah and South Dakota both are home to three ROTC programs.
BRAC made it worse. Gutting the Bay Area Navy - even though the politicians there were horrible to the Navy - and the slow death of the New England Bases from Northern Maine to Massachusetts, has simply created more decision makers who interact little to any with the military. Not in their district, not in their scan.
Here is the core of the problem. For the same reason industry has moved South and West,
Privately, however, officers in charge of recruiting have said that it is cheaper to recruit cadets in places such as Texas and Alabama. The costs of expanding ROTC in places such as New York are excessive, they have said, and universities there have insufficient space or are not very welcoming.That last part is BS, except for the hostility part (that is ligit). They have plenty of room for Gender Studies junk and all the FOD that comes with it. ROTC just isn't a priority - and they are not held accountable by the State of Federal authorities for their lack of support.
That is part of it, I think. Just trying. There is also the fact that there has to be an effort and a mindset. Here is a little something URR would nod his Yankee bald head at.
But we learned in New York that it is not merely a matter of raw resources. After attending more than 75 career fairs at colleges in the area and seeing that regular Army recruiters failed to show up to most of them, Trynosky set up his own officer-recruiting table at a public service career fair at Columbia University. He was deluged. Armed only with homemade flyers and an officer's uniform, in a single day he identified three students who ultimately enlisted for the Army's grueling Officer Candidate School. By contrast, the Army's self-imposed target for officer-training programs in the New York City region is roughly 30 new officers per year.It would be interesting to see if the Navy has some stats WRT officer demographics vs. national demographics by Congressional District.
Trynosky says Army ROTC officials have told him that they've tried and failed to expand in places like New York -- that the Army's resource allocation matches the market. But, having seen the genuine interest from students in the city, it seems to me as though the Army has been influenced by the same dismissive attitude that universities are so often accused of having toward the military. Why are our huge and diverse cities -- especially New York, with a still-gaping wound in the Earth -- allocated paltry recruiting resources? Shouldn't the armed services, which need the best talent from across the country, do more to reach beyond what they see as tried-and-true recruiting grounds?
The Marine Corps, apparently, would answer in the affirmative. According to their recruiters, the Marines aggressively target would-be officers in New York and other major metropolitan areas and get a diverse reward for their efforts. (Says one young recruiter based in the Northeast: "We kill it in the cities!")
Now THAT is a profiling system and tracking program for recruiting I would fully support. Forget DNA - try to represent the nation like we elect our politicians, the rest will come out in the wash.
Just as an aside, I worked with a small group unexpectedly doing big things during Operation DESERT FOX in the '90s. For weeks, they were all I saw except for the inside of my eyelids. All were Southerners ... except for one guy from Vermont. We all looked at him like he was from Mars and made much merriment at his expense (I made him eat a Moon Pie, methinks). It shouldn't be that way, but in many cases, it is in the military.
One thing I learned in a couple of decades of service and many years living outside the South - including New England. It is a cultural fact that the South has a more martial tradition and is more supportive, on average, than the North when it comes to the military. The Mountain West is very similar in that respect to the South. Texas is a world unto itself, of course. The rural Mid-west somewhere in the middle leaning Southern in its military opinion. That has been true for most of our nation's history.
The War of 1812 almost resulted in New England leaving the USA. The Mexican American War found more support in the South. In the War of Northern Aggression (OK, War Between the States if you insist. A "Civil War" it was not - except in Missouri), the Southern armies killed a much larger number of Northern forces - though they lost in the end by simple attrition.
A strange cultural tendency, explained a wee-bit by Webb
and Fischer, that I think has been made worse in the last 30 years for a variety of reasons. First would be the political culture of the Northeast, second the bean counters wanting to get more for less, and lastly a predominately Southern and Western military that simply does not want to live in or try to convince Northerners to do what they don't want to do. After all, they should want to out of a sense of duty, right?
Enough of the kidding of my Yankee friends - let me leave with this point. What is the primary focus of a recruiter when you talk to them about needing to have a diverse military? Well, of course, they are going to take out the Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer the Diversity Bullies gave them. They will quote from the multi-million dollar Diversity consultants they paid money for - consultants who only see race like former Sen. Byrd in the 1950s. You need to change that dynamic first.