Recruiting patterns in the military have increasingly come to reflect the nation's red state-blue state political divide, with recruiting strong in the South and Midwest but lagging on the coasts, retired Army Brig. Gen. Michael Meese said at a Rand Corp. event Thursday.
“When you look at it regionally, the North and the West tend to be less positive” on military service “than the South and the Midwest,” said Meese, the former head of West Point's Department of Social Sciences.
“The implications of that for recruiting are problematic,” he said, “because where are you going to fish” to fill out the ranks?
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The pattern has been in place for decades and, should it continue, Meese said, he could envision a time 50 years from now when recruits from New York and Oregon would number in the single digits, “and everybody else is gonna be from Georgia and North Carolina” despite the ongoing efforts of the services to attract recruits nationwide.
Meese, president of the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, spoke at a Rand panel discussion on “What Americans Think About Veterans,” which amounted to a review of a Rand report in December that examined possible factors in what the Pentagon has called a “crisis” in recruiting.
The report found that Americans still think highly of veterans, but a majority (54%)…