Washington -- Recruitment is down, triggering talk all over DC of draft reinstatement. But is a draft the only solution to tanking numbers?
The battle lines are being drawn, as we speak, with the PentAgon(y) caught in the middle. But now it is fighting back with new enlistment bonuses that are sure to appeal to those boots-not-yet-on-the-ground, but teetering on the fence (Just TRY to get that image out of your head.)
General Ben Hackeneway, spokesman for the PentAgon(y) has announced a new program to boost its numbers, booting it up, as they like to say.
"We gave this long consideration in a relaxed atmosphere [Foggy Bottom Bar & Grill], did some brainstorming [or barnstorming, in the case of THAT meat locker] you know, and using our collective [unconscious] mental faculties came up with what we think is a great incentive package.
"Just in time for Christmas we will offer, besides our VERY generous dollar bonuses, the choice of a PS3, an iPod, or silicone breast implants. The FDA [coincidence?] just now re-approved the silicone implant model, and man oh man, it wasn't a day too soon."
Hackeneway pointed out, on the (million dollar) chart he happened to bring along, the statistics that seemed to back up his contention that "just dollars" will no longer attract the young recruit, with female recruits especially difficult to grab.
Indeed, the chart showed dismal current figures, and the female numbers have been stuck somewhere in the single digits less than 2 for the last six months. But the "projected" numbers seemed to soar to the stratosphere (Hackeneway is secretly in love with the Air Force).
"Just look on eBrag," said Hackeneway, "and what do you see? PS3 selling for many thousands of dollars -- there's a shortage, right? Well, we're the government. Get it? We can get all the PS3 units we want. War time provisions, baby! Mom and Dad won't have to stand in line at the big box this Christmas season! Just send those little buggers down to the recruiter's office and we'll send 'em home grinning big time."
Asked about the iPod, Hackeneway admitted that it was a lesser attractant: "Yeah, it's a little dated, but we have a cool camo skin and glow-in-the-dark boom box to go with it. Many of the less mature won't be able to resist it.
"But we at the PentAgon(y) got our mind [?] straight this time. The free breast implant, valued at $20,000 for both, um, sides, will definitely attract the females. That is projected to literally balloon our numbers, not only for females, but also a certain, ah, a kind of a male recruit that, hmm..."
Here Hackeneway became tongue-tied. We can only speculate, but the armed services may soon be forced to redefine the meaning of the term "busted."