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New muddled army.

As defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld dreamed of transforming the military into a futuristic high-tech force, light in numbers and nimble on its feet. But he probably didn't plan to staff his smart new Army with recruits who couldn't handle high school.

Two long wars have left the military struggling to fill its ranks. The Army claims that it's not lowering standards, which is technically true. It's just granting many more felony and medical waivers. Bonuses are up, aptitude scores are down.

The latest concession is a GED school for dropouts, located at Fort Jackson, home to the Army's largest basic training school. In 1990, nearly 100 percent of enlistees held high-school diplomas. That number has slipped to 79 percent, so the Army is playing tutor.

Instructors speak optimistically of their pupils' progress in reading and math. Perhaps they'll also study history--and learn the lengths to which desperate powers will go to sustain their losing efforts.
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Title Annotation:MILITARY
Publication:The American Conservative
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 8, 2008
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