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Pentagon Creating A Database Of Students 1014

Posted by Zonk
from the hi-there-timmy dept.
needacoolnickname writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the Pentagon is working with a marketing firm to create a database of students ages 16 through college to help them identify recruits. A little chuckle from the Pentagon in the article: '...anyone can opt out of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate suppression file. That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.'"
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Pentagon Creating A Database Of Students

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  • Article Content (Score:5, Informative)

    by zoloto (586738) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:10PM (#12890413)
    Coral Cached Article [nyud.net]

    Pentagon Creating Student Database
    Recruiting Tool For Military Raises Privacy Concerns

    By Jonathan Krim
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, June 23, 2005; A01

    The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.

    The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.

    The data will be managed by BeNow Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., one of many marketing firms that use computers to analyze large amounts of data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits.

    "The purpose of the system . . . is to provide a single central facility within the Department of Defense to compile, process and distribute files of individuals who meet age and minimum school requirements for military service," according to the official notice of the program.

    Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work.

    Some information on high school students already is given to military recruiters in a separate program under provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. Recruiters have been using the information to contact students at home, angering some parents and school districts around the country.

    School systems that fail to provide that information risk losing federal funds, although individual parents or students can withhold information that would be transferred to the military by their districts. John Moriarty, president of the PTA at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, said the issue has "generated a great deal of angst" among many parents participating in an e-mail discussion group.

    Under the new system, additional data will be collected from commercial data brokers, state drivers' license records and other sources, including information already held by the military.

    "Using multiple sources allows the compilation of a more complete list of eligible candidates to join the military," according to written statements provided by Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke in response to questions. "This program is important because it helps bolster the effectiveness of all the services' recruiting and retention efforts."

    The Pentagon's statements added that anyone can "opt out" of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate "suppression file." That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.

    But privacy advocates said using database marketers for military recruitment is inappropriate.

    "We support the U.S. armed forces, and understand that DoD faces serious challenges in recruiting for the military," a coalition of privacy groups wrote to the Pentagon after notice of the program was published in the Federal Register a month ago. "But . . . the collection of this information is not consistent with the Privacy Act, which was passed by Congress to reduce the government's collection of personal information on Americans."

    Chris Jay Hoofnagle, West Coast director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the system "an audacious plan to target-market kids, as young as 16, for military solicitation."

    He added that collecting Social Security numbers was not only unnecessary but posed a needless risk of identity fraud. Theft of Social Security numbers and other personal in
    • One step beyond.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by PopeAlien (164869) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:37PM (#12890831) Homepage Journal
      Thats funny - they already get names addresses and telephone numbers from schools in exchange for federal aid as noted in this article [msn.com]

      A little-noticed clause in the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act requires high schools to hand over students' names, addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters as a condition of receiving federal aid.

      I guess this would fill in the gaps and really make sure 'no child is left behind'.

      I wonder would this lead to more or less stories like this:

      In one well-publicized case in Colorado, Army recruiters were tape-recorded encouraging a student journalist posing as a high school dropout to create a diploma from a non-existent school to comply with military enlistment requirements. They also were heard giving him advice on how to disguise a chronic "marijuana problem" and how to pass a mandatory drug test.

      • by snorklewacker (836663) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:02PM (#12891209)
        > They also were heard giving him advice on how to disguise a chronic "marijuana problem" and how to pass a mandatory drug test.

        The fake diploma thing is downright dishonest, but I've had employers tell me before a drug test "just drink a whole lot of gatorade a few days before and take a b12 tablet the day of the test". It's not like the kid was a crackhead, and these folks figured, probably rightly, that the army might clean him up.

        Before shipping him off to get him killed for the commander-in-chief's personal vendetta of course.

        By the way, it'd lead to less stories. They'll be able to screen out those pesky journalists. Word to the wise student: take journalism.
        • by ianscot (591483) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:36PM (#12892359)
          It's not like the kid was a crackhead, and these folks figured, probably rightly, that the army might clean him up.

          Is that the same Army whose recruiters attempted to commit two clear ethical violations just in the process of getting him in the door? You're right, sounds like a good influence.

          I've had three pretty close friends enlist in the services -- two in the Navy, one in the Marines. The levels of alcohol and drug use they described were frighteningly high. That's anecdotal, okay -- but these were straight arrows going in, and they weren't anywhere near clean while they were in uniform. One at least was more Boy Scout than was maybe good for him before he joined. Two of them have returned to those selves after leaving, but the third is a hard drinking, hard smoking, heavily-tattooed and generally scary fellah now. Wants to talk about how cynical he is about "how things work," mostly.

          (This story is basically "The services are desperate to recruit, and they got this 'in' in Bush's education bill to do it with." Why are they desperate to recruit? Because W., having talked so much about the armed forces not being ready for confict during the 2000 campaign, has spent his term in office making those predictions come true on his own watch. Everything the guy claimed about Clinton decimating the military's ability to fight, he's done himself in spades.)

          • I've had three pretty close friends enlist in the services -- two in the Navy, one in the Marines. The levels of alcohol and drug use they described were frighteningly high. That's anecdotal, okay -- but these were straight arrows going in, and they weren't anywhere near clean while they were in uniform. One at least was more Boy Scout than was maybe good for him before he joined. Two of them have returned to those selves after leaving, but the third is a hard drinking, hard smoking, heavily-tattooed and ge
            • by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @04:46PM (#12893721) Homepage
              How exactly is this different from all my friends who were clean-cut, straight arrows in high school, and then turned into similar beasts as you've described above once in college and on their own?

              PS: also the one that don't go to college or the military. I think this has more to do with being on one's own for the first time, and learning one's limitations. A cross section of all people age 18-22 is going to show a hefty portion of them partying more than one reasonably should.

    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:07PM (#12891976)
      The Pentagon's statements added that anyone can "opt out" of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate "suppression file." This database will also be known as the "FBI list of unpatriotic potential terrorists". We'll be keeping on eye on you, kid!
      • Re:Article Content (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Analogy Man (601298) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:24PM (#12892168)
        Mod parent up. This wouldn't be unprecedented behavior either. In the Nam era they had spooks hanging out in the student unions taking notes on student activities. I read some extracts of some of that several years ago that came out under FIA.

        If the terrorists extract another drop of blood for 20 years they have already won if you put stock in the most idiotic statement since 9/11 "They Hate Us For Our Freedom" - GWB Fall 2001. If this is REALLY what our administration believes why turn away from that chartet to adopt domestic policies to erode personal liberty, detain people (even US citizens) indefinitely without charge or trial, prop up undemocratic governments in Egypt and Lebanon for fear of "unfriendly" Islamist leaders that would likely win a free election?

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:10PM (#12890424) Homepage Journal

    to create a database of students ages 16 through college to help them identify recruits.

    It will start similar to "Student A has a rich family, pass. Ahh.. Student B is lower-middle class, offer Student B a scholarship attached to a term in the Reserves." and end with "Draft Student B."
    • Well, like it or not, said Student B might actually welcome this scholarship if given the chance. It's not like they're going for mandatory enlistment, they just want to make more efficient recruitment system to raise the chance that they'll actually offer enlistment to people who might want them.

      Of course, the extended amount of information they gather is worrying...
  • the draft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by udderly (890305) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:11PM (#12890427)
    When this fails to get enough recruits can the draft be far behind?
    • by xnderxnder (626189) <.dan. .at. .hindgrindr.com.> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:19PM (#12890565)
      > When this fails to get enough recruits can the draft be far behind?

      Am I the only one thinking that the "suppression file" is also aliased as "the first to be drafted file"

      evil evil evil..
      • Re:the draft (Score:3, Informative)

        by pHatidic (163975)
        No. They are partnering with a marketing company, meaning that when you verify your data the marketinrg company will sell it to companies and spammers and the like. That way the government can get the marketing company to create the database for free, and the marketing company gets all its data on customers accurate under penalty of law, which it would not otherwise get. It is really a win-win for both. The only one who loses here is me, being a 20 year old male and such.
    • Re:the draft (Score:3, Informative)

      by qbzzt (11136)
      When this fails to get enough recruits can the draft be far behind?

      Given the kind of trouble they'd have with keeping draftees motivated, and the kind of skills they need, I doubt the military would want a draft.

      It's easy to train somebody to be a WWII-level grunt. But most jobs in a modern military require a lot of intelligence, and it would be very easy for somebody to feign incompetence.
    • by WebHostingGuy (825421) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:33PM (#12890765) Homepage Journal
      Why does everyone keep bringing this up? It's a neat scare tactic but it's not going to happen. There is still an excess of reservists and guard units which have not been called up. (I know this because I know a lot of them which have not been called up or have been rotated home from duty). Barring another war taking place on US soil there will not be a draft.

      Committing to a draft would actually hurt the military more than help. A dramatic increase in personnel would strain existing logistical resources and money allotted to the department of defense. There would have to be a extreme increase in military funding before any drafting would occur.
    • Re:the draft (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:46PM (#12890965) Homepage
      When this fails to get enough recruits can the draft be far behind?

      Nah. The Chiken-Little's shouting "the draft is coming" are (naturally) unfamiliar with how the military is currently structured. The entire training system is geared towards willing, self-motivated recruits who are there of their own volition. Anyone can, at any time in the first 6 months of their enlistment, say "this isn't working for me" and get out with a simple Entry Level Separation. An ELS doesn't show up as a "black mark" on your record anywhere.

      But moving to a draft system, suddenly everyone is there at gunpoint. Most draftees will be recalcitrant, unmotivated dregs suitable for nothing more complicated than cannon fodder infantry. This may have been OK during the Bad Old Days, but even being an infantryman these days requires a fair bit of technical competency. Furthermore, the real shortage in the military is in recruiting people for complex technical jobs rather than straight-up combat arms. So essentially they'd end up with a whole raft of uncooperative bedding-delousing specialists just to get a handfull of tactical intelligence analysts. The military doesn't want the draft. They want more volunteers.

      • Re:the draft (Score:4, Interesting)

        by demachina (71715) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:25PM (#12892172)
        "The military doesn't want the draft. They want more volunteers."

        YEA. WHAT HE SAID. And if there aren't enough volunteers, we need to figure out how to "motivate" people to volunteer event if they dont want to :) Is a person a volunteer if they are coerced or tricked in to volunteering.

        There is already a well documented trend of the DOD using fine print, trickery and out right coercion to prevent people already in the military and reserves from escaping when their contracted enlistment period is up. For all practical purposes many people already in the military and reserves ARE being drafted because they can't get out when they were supposed to.

        Fact is the Army and Marines, their reserves and gaurds ARE missing their recruitment goals by a big margin and are now missing them every month and the popularity of the war in Iraq is plummeting. Eventually the DOD is going to run out of meat for the grinder. The Army and Marines the two services where the bulk of the sitting ducks being sent to Iraq come from. The Navy and Air Force are doing OK mostly because people who want to join the military know thats the best place to be to avoid ending up on the streets in Iraq.

        Believe it or not most kids are smart enough to not want to end up in in an ugly urban guerilla war with no end in sight. A war where they would seldom see who is trying to kill them, where most of the natives hate them, and where lots of their peers are coming home in body bags, with burns or without limbs.

        The all volunteer army is GREAT as long as you are never in a protracted shooting war, especially one based on lies and with no clear goal or end game. It simply wont work if Iraq turns in to another Vietnam. You simply wont get the volunteers needed to fight a dirty, messy war with no glory. You can get volunteers to race in on the tanks and declare victory in a week. You wont get volunteers to patrol Iraqi streets filled with an enemy you seldom see who are sniping at you and using IED's to blow your legs off.

        Dont think it really matters if the military is structured for "volunteers" now. If people stop "volunteering" the DOD is screwed. Its either a full up draft with the political consequence to the people responsible(i.e. the Bush adminstration and the Republicans), back door drafts where you coerce and trick people in to the military and dont let them out which is basicly what we have now(the histroical term is Shanghai'ing people), or you cut and run on places like Iraq, and it probably collapses in to more of a smoldering hole in the ground than it already is and you just wasted half a trillion dollars and tens of thousands of dead and wounded on a failure.

        Lucky for little George that he is a lame duck, because at this point it doesn't much matter how bad a job he does, we are stuck with him until 2008 unless someone acquires the balls to impeach him, which he most certainly deserves.
  • New World Order (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:11PM (#12890432)


    Just when I think our society can't get any more Orwellian [wikipedia.org], we see this:

    1. The Defense Department will compile and maintain a database of students, which will include such personal information as birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and school subjects.
    2. Anyone who wants to opt out of this database will be kept in another database instead (most probably named something like 'potential dissidents').
    3. The Defense Department will share all this personal info with non-military organizations, such as law enforcement and state tax authorities.

    It's a hat-trick of privacy violation.
    This is just the tip of the iceberg, too...soon this will be expanded to all americans eligible for military service...then all americans, period. Refusing to submit your info for this database will automatically label you as a dissident, although what with the new national IDs coming out, you'll be in that database whether you like it or not.

    Welcome to the New World Order.

    (P.S.: Here's a link [epic.org] to the various privacy advocates' letter to the Pentagon referenced in the article.)
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:20PM (#12890567)
      That will be recorded in the database.

      It sounds like you are not happy with this.

      Failure to be happy is treason.

      In Soviet Amerika, our new Overlords welcome you.
  • Not Fair (Score:5, Funny)

    by millahtime (710421) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:11PM (#12890434) Homepage Journal
    16 through college. I am a recent graduate but I want to be tracked for recruitment. This is discrimination. It's unconstitutional!
    • I realize this is supposed to be sarcastic..

      but really... don't temp them.
    • In my new quest to be a helpful, productive member of society, I have submitted your name, phone number, favorite country harboring terrorists and your desire to become a recruit to my nearest recruiting office. I even took the interview and signed the papers for you.

      Best of luck in your new career.

      Remember, its like a gym, but they pay you!
  • Well, Duh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:11PM (#12890435) Homepage
    Of course the Pentagon is going to do this kind of thing. They are in desperate need of recruits. They're caught between a rock and a hard place: they're trying to fight a war that is unpopular with the majority of Americans, and a good chunk of those that do support it think that somebody other than themselves and their loved ones should be doing the actual fighting and dying part.

    What do you do? Recruit, recruit, recruit like there's no tomorrow. Use every tool you can get your hands on. Raise the "financial incentives" of joining up--even if you were to double a grunt's pay, they'd still be waaaay cheaper than hiring another mercenary. Make lists. Get aggressive. Be persistent. Get every person you can lay your hands on.

    One of the following things will most likely happen in the next few years:

    1. We'll pour huge amounts of money into hiring more mercenary forces to augment our armed forces;
    2. We'll reinstate the draft in one form or another;
    3. We'll claim victory, pull our troops out, and hope that the Iraqis can sort it out themselves;
    4. We'll claim victory, ensconce a substantial number of troops in hardened, remotely-located permanent bases, and hope that the Iraqis can sort it out themselves;
    5. We'll get a massive surge in recruitment and will be able to meet our military needs with a full-strength volunteer service.
    6. The insurgency will die and a stable Iraqi government will take hold.

    The Pentagon would much rather have a healthy, full-strength, all-volunteer military force than an expensive, byzantine network of "independent contractors" doing more and more grunt work outside the scope of both military and civil law. To this end, they're gonna do everything in their power to meet their recruitment needs--and frankly, creating a database of students is pretty freakin' innocuous compared to some of the other recruiting shenanigans that have been going down lately...

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:21PM (#12890587)


      > Of course the Pentagon is going to do this kind of thing. They are in desperate need of recruits.

      I hear that the "Cannonfodder Wanted" ads didn't produce the desired results, nor the "It's sweet and proper to die for one's Cheny" ads either.

    • Re:Well, Duh. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dedeman (726830)
      I'll pick #1 and #4, here's why

      #1 Offers an opportunity for the administration to funnel federal monies to private contracting "security" firms, allowing financial incentives for a great many civilians who are not bound by the same rules of military conduct that the soldiers are. It also allows for legal weapons testing. Is is any wonder why the current vice president was the former CEO of the largest conracting agency involved in the war effort?

      #5 Even if we claim victory, or achieve victory, or some
      • I meant the Pentagon specifically--whether the force is hired, conscripted or voluntary is secondary to the aims of the administration. You can rest assured that the military leaders at the Pentagon would take a bona-fide U.S. soldier over a mercenary any day of the week.

        I agree with you--I think #1 and #4 are our most likely outcomes. Hell, we've been working on the hardened, remote, permanent bases since the get-go.

        This war is about many things--freedom, spreading democracy, oil, security, terrorism

    • You forgot (Score:3, Funny)

      by phalse phace (454635)
      1. We'll pour huge amounts of money into hiring more mercenary forces to augment our armed forces;
      2. We'll reinstate the draft in one form or another;
      3. We'll claim victory, pull our troops out, and hope that the Iraqis can sort it out themselves;
      4. We'll claim victory, ensconce a substantial number of troops in hardened, remotely-located permanent bases, and hope that the Iraqis can sort it out themselves;
      5. We'll get a massive surge in recruitment and will be able to meet our military needs with a full-st
  • Name: Osama Bin Laden
    Address: 5586 Ti..."Hey, wait a minute...!"

  • are belong to us.

  • I'm thinking "opression" is they word they are looking for. They are running out of bodies to send to Iraq and fast. They can't get enough people recruited and they're going to have to consider a draft. But they won't call it that... they'll want to call it something else. I'm thinking that if you neglect to opt-out at some stage you may find yourself "volunteering by default."
  • I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. Databases are necessary for any kind of serious sales targetting.

    How many times should they talk with the kid about which branch of the service they'd be interested in?
  • In other words (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:15PM (#12890499) Homepage
    The Pentagon is making a database of the poorest and most underprivileged high school students in order to hook them in to military service.

    At my high school, which was in a relatively wealthy county, there were almost never military recruiters, and very few students went into the military. Those that did would do so via the rather prestigious military colleges (U.S. Naval Academy, etc.).

    Meanwhile, I have relatives that live in upstate New York. Their school district is in a relatively poor section of the country, and they have recruiters almost permanently stationed in the high schools, preying on the students. At this point, even if parents complain, the school can do nothing about the recruiters' presence due to the No Child Left Behind act.
    • Re:In other words (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ReadParse (38517) <.john. .at. .funnycow.com.> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:46PM (#12890976) Homepage
      Yeah, but let's not forget that the US Military is a tremendous career opportunity for many people, as an alternative to trade school, minimum wage jobs, unemployment, etc. They take great care of you, the pay is good, and the benefits are extraordinary and last long after you leave the service. I got out almost 10 years ago (having served 5 years) and bought my first house on a VA government-guaranteed mortgage, and will probably buy my second house on another VA mortgage.

      Is there a downside to all of these benefits? Well certainly. The purpose of the military, of course, is to fight wars. But if these kids study in school and can do well enough on the ASVAB [wikipedia.org] test, they can get into the Air Force or the Navy, where their lives will be in much less immediate peril and where they can learn extremely useful technical skills.

      As Americans, we're spoiled -- and it's easy to forget what actual poverty is like. In many countries, the poorest kids are the ones who cannot go to school because they can't afford it or because they must work to support their families. In America, most of the poor kids are excused from doing well in school because they're from disfunctional families, and that is called poverty. Do they have a TV? Of course. Telephone? Yes. Cable? Very often. Satellite? Big-screen? Designer clothes? You'd be surprised.

      Ah, but do they have a part-time job and carry books home in hopes of maybe moving on to something better one day? Some do. But many don't. Military recruiters recognize the more limited future of these kids and that they have something to offer them. Military recruitment is usually a win/win proposition. Let's not forget how much service personnel GET from the US government. I'm one of them and I can attest to it.

      RP
      • by pizen (178182) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:00PM (#12891187)
        They take great care of you, the pay is good, and the benefits are extraordinary and last long after you leave the service.

        "Are you interested in joining? The benefits are terrific. The trick is not to get killed. That's really the key to the benefit program." - Vince Ricardo (The In-Laws [imdb.com])

        Second time today I've quoted this movie on slashdot. He's actually referring to joining the CIA but the sentiment is the same.
      • Re:In other words (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wass (72082)
        You bring up important points, and there certainly are opportunistic benefits for joing the army. But there are some real problems with the current situation. Soldiers must be able to trust their leaders to only deploy them if absolutely necessary, and unfortunately the current administration has betrayed their trust [downingstreetmemo.com]. We're fighting a war that more and more people, including Republican politicians, are realizing we shouldn't have initiated.

        You say "Military recruiters recognize the more limited future

    • No Child Left Behind (Score:4, Informative)

      by wass (72082) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:58PM (#12891154)
      Yeah, few people realize that the No Child Left Behind Act isn't only about raising standardized test scores but also helps recruiters get unimpeded information about potential recruits. See this article [alternet.org] from 2002, long before there was the current recruiting crisis due to the Iraq war.

      Also - there are ways for high school parents and students to "opt out" of the recruiting campaign. If you're a high school student or parent of such a student, you might find these links helpful:

    • Re:In other words (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:11PM (#12891335)
      "Preying"? You make it sound like the recruiters are kidnapping these kids and pressing them into service.

      There's a reason why recruiters focus on poorer areas in their recruiting drives. The military offers a steady job for four years with additional compensation for people who go to college afterwards. It also offers the possibility of making one's career in the military. When you compare that to the alternative - working in low-wage blue collar jobs, when you're working at all - people in poor areas find the military to be an attractive option. In more affluent areas, recruitment isn't as worthwhile, because most kids have the resources already available to them to take a different (safer, easier, higher-paying) career path by going to college immediately.

      This isn't some insidious plot to enlist underprivileged kids. It's an appropriate allocation of recruitment resources to the areas of the country where recruitment will be the most successful. In other words, this is the military being efficient.

      Any other time, people would be complaining about how the military wastes so much money - but in this case, where the military is managing its resources well, they're accused of being nefarious. I guess they just can't win.

    • Re:In other words (Score:5, Informative)

      by Charcharodon (611187) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:12PM (#12891353)
      Well my original post was much more rude, but I deleted it to give it another go.

      First off, I'm not a recruiter though I am in the Air Force and have been so for 10 years. Recruiters don't "prey" on poor kids, but yes they do find many potential recruites in that population. When compared to their options getting sent to Iraq to fight has a much higher life expectancy than staying home and getting involved to crime and drugs.

      Actually recruiters rather go after the middle class kids since most of your lower class have to many educational problems and past criminal behaivor. Most are turned away as unexceptable as they can't pass minimum standards. Turns out the Army doesn't want to deal with them either and could easily fill their quotas plus some if they where willing to snatch up every poor 17-20 year old that applied.

      The military has always been a stepping stone to move out of dead end social/economic situation. In my case it was either go on unemployment/welfare or go back and live with the parents, neither were viable options in my mind, so instead I joined the Air Force. Out of the deal I've gotten two college degrees and enough certifications/licenses in aviation (pilot and mechanic) as well as SCUBA to choke a very hungry donkey. By the time I'm done, 10 more years to go, I'll have a retirement check, a Masters degree, and my transport pilot rating. Not to bad of a deal at all.

      Opportunities are what you make of them. The military is a very good opportunity for the poor if they can even get it in the first place. The rich will always avoid the military unless it has something they want. It wouldn't be too hard though to get them to join. Just bring back the death tax and make it 75% for those that don't serve (on the kids not the parents) and make public service (military, police, fire, etc ala Heinland) a requirement to hold public office. The rich kids would be flooding the recruiters then.

  • your infosec on file (Score:5, Interesting)

    by null etc. (524767) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:16PM (#12890515)
    A little chuckle from the Pentagon in the article: '...anyone can opt out of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate suppression file. That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.

    For anyone who wonders why this would be necessary, let me give an example.

    CapitalOne got it into their heads that they should send me a credit card application every week. After spending an hour trying to track down a telephone number that would let me speak with a CSR without having an account number, I asked them to stop mailing me. The CSR rep replied that the system takes 12 to 16 weeks to fully honor a request to not receive offers! Which is pretty funny, because I asked the rep "so if I sign up for the credit card today, you can take my name off the list, but if I just want you to stop sending me junk that someone can use to steal my identity, it takes 4 months?!?!" He didn't have a good answer.

    Anyways, as soon as I move to a new address three months later, I started receiving two offers from CapitalOne every week! They obvious match solely on name and address.

    I just don't feel like going through the same bollux again to get my address off the list. Sheesh.

    • by hsmith (818216)
      actually, if you want to OPT-OUT from ALL credit card offers:

      you can call : 1-888-5-OPTOUT to get out of this, there is a website, they give it to you in the phone number, i did it 3 months ago, i barely get any now (tehy have to work you out of the system, some places have purchased your info from the credit bureaus like 3-4 months ago)

      http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/protect.htm [ftc.gov]
  • If I agree to be in their database, do I get a little card that can get scanned at military surplus stores, and maybe some handy coupons printed on the back?
  • Opt out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:18PM (#12890539)
    Opt-out isn't as easy as it seems. You can't just delete somebody from the database, because then you have no record of them opting-out the next time you do a data load from your source. The only way to properly do opt-out is to put them in a separate opt-out DB.

    dom
    • or you add a field to the database for opt-outs.
    • Re:Opt out (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @04:27PM (#12893533) Homepage

      While logically true, too many take advantage of the logic. Many of the fields can be deleted, for example, everything but SSN (a unique identifier) and a 'not interested' flag. Since they are provided SSN to enter data in the database, they will have enough to know that the record in question shouldn't go in, even with duplicates.

  • Maybe the real anger here should be aimed at the waste of government resources. This data is already tracked under the mantel of 'Selective Service'. Currently, all males in this rough age group need to remain registered so they can be selected as 'recruits' (if the draft counts as active recruiting).

    Why not just modify the existing system instead of creating an expensive, possibly error prone new system that'll draw the ire of privacy advocates?
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:22PM (#12890617)
    A draft will be needed for the upcoming invasion of Iran, which Scott Ritter (former UN weapons inspector in Iraq) says has already covertly started.

    Indeed, Iran is not like Iraq. Iraq was a very splintered social and religious community, while Iran is far more coherent. Iran is well armed. Considering how poorly the Americans have fared in Iraq, Iran is out of the question for anyone with half a mind. Unfortunately, such people are not at the helm of the United States.

    I'm praying for all the American youth who may get mislead into dying in some desert battlefields in third-world nations.
  • Remember! (Score:5, Funny)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:22PM (#12890620) Homepage Journal
    Service guarantees citizenship!

    Do your part!

    Would you like to know more?
  • by shoppa (464619) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:26PM (#12890661)
    When I was in high school:
    • I didn't have a social security number
    • I didn't have a driver's license
    • I certainly didn't have any credit cards
    But I did have a:
    • Savings account. Paper passbook. I imagine that all the numbers were in some computer somewhere but it sure wasn't networked with anything else.
    • Student info folder at school. All the grades etc. were kept track of by secretaries and typewriter.
    • Selective Service registration (I turned 18 my senior year).
    The place where I did finally interface with some national databases was when I took the PSAT's. All of a sudden a bazillion colleges were sending me mail. (No, not E-mail!)

    Of course, now all my kids got Social Security numbers at birth. If you don't get them one, you can't use them as a deduction...!

  • by jac1962 (822171) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:28PM (#12890692) Homepage

    It's called (or was called ca 1993 - 1997) a "P-card" (Prospect card)

    A P-card is what that poor bastard uses when he calls you or your slacker kid every freakin' night of the week, trying to get the two "sits" (appointments) his staion commander told him he had to get before he could go home for the night.

    P-card databases are built from a variety of automated and non-automated sources. The armed forces have bought mailing lists targeting the male 18-24 year group for years. Recruiters also use high school year books, phone books, mailing lists provided by schools, and the ASVAB test you took to get out of PE for the day, and other students to build their P-card database.

    The Penatagon building another database is redundant as any recruiter will tell you. Most of the leads it will generate will likely be useless, but recuriters will be forced to refine them, adding more work to an already never-ending day on the bag.

    I imagine many army recruiters are wishing they were in Iraq right now instead of cold-calling people with little to no interest in volunteering to serve in the military.

    At least in Iraq they get to shoot back at the bastards.

  • This is not new . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hirschma (187820) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:28PM (#12890697)
    A couple of stories that may add a historical perspective:

    Plastic Army Men
    ----------------

    Remember the great deals on plastic Army men that you could get on the back covers of comic books? This was back in the early '70's. My friend and his brother weren't satisified with their "one per customer" offer, so they made up a bunch of fake siblings with silly names and sent orders it their name.

    About 10 years later, the brothers were getting a ton of military recruiting junk mail. As were their fake siblings...

    Riflery Team
    ------------

    I was a member of the Riflery team in high school, circa 1981. I lived in a pretty liberal place at the time.

    At on practice, I looked down at the bucket of spent .22 casings, and wondered: who was paying for the bullets? I couldn't imagine that the left-wing PTA would ever budget for them.

    I asked the teacher-coach. He looked at me funny, and said: "The Army pays for the bullets".

    It took me a second to absorb this, and I asked what the Army was getting back in return. The teacher-coach said: "Your target scores".

    Now, my parents hadn't agreed to that, and neither did I. I quit that day, not wanting to be "special need" drafted as a sniper.

    jh
  • by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:33PM (#12890760) Homepage
    Makes me wonder if the schools with cooperate with "anti-recruiters" who are trying to starve the armed forces so the U.S. won't also go into Iran or Syria based on yet another pack of Bush lies. Normally I would be opposed to such activity, but as long as we're invading countries illegally (i.e., as long as Bush is in office), this would seem to be a prudent effort.
  • by davmoo (63521) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:35PM (#12890806)
    "Hi, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

    This line causes more people to run in fear than any weapon of mass destruction.
  • Impressive... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maljin Jolt (746064) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:36PM (#12890811) Journal
    In my country, so called people's army had exactly such a database of all students, because every student was actualy a recruit on delay.

    But that was deep past in the totalitarian communist era. Today it would be illegal to keep such data for any reason. What's exactly going on in the USA??? Is it a precursor to conscription?
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:39PM (#12890862) Homepage Journal
    children maybe they would have more luck. I almost enlisted in the army, but I wanted to talk it over with my family beforehand. I called and canceled my appointment only to have a recruiter call me up and try to play mind games in order to pressure me into joining. I played a game called "Propaganda" in Academic Games in high school, and I was identifying every single technique he was using. He was playing mind games with me like I was 12. If the Army wants to play games, let them play games. Meanwhile recruits will dwindle as they get treated like shit for the chance to die for Dick Cheney.
  • by christoofar (451967) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:51PM (#12891047)
    I'm all in favor of the DREAM act. Since 1890, Texas has been dealing with a flood of illegal immigration, which didn't abate after the amnesty program in the 1980s.

    Seriously, these are kids who aren't interested in the Service, and they're only signing up because they're being sweet talked into it like a crack whore lookin' for a fix. Soon after they're shipped off for BT do they realize what a mistake they've made.

    So, where else is there a pool of semi-muscular blobs that can be turned into killing machines? There are two... a) the prison system and b) illegal immigrants.

    Illegal immigrants want to become citizens. They keep saying when they come over that they'll just work for a few years and go back home. That never happens.

    Why not convince these people to actually do something meaningful for a change and stop debasing wages? That's right! These pobrecitos who are picking our oranges and driving our trucks can make MUCH better money in the E3-E6 paygrade... WORLDS better than back in the coloñias or the barrio.

    Let these immigrants prove their worth! In exchange for their service they get citizenship and GI eligibility.

    Mexico benefits as well as the US here. The military fulfills its quotas and can stop harassing the preppy white kids in schools. Mexico's population declines to a level its government can support. Everybody wins (oh except the kids that won't join up... you get to fight for white collar jobs that haven't left for India).
  • Opt-out == Opt-in (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Winterblink (575267) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:56PM (#12891133) Homepage
    How much do you want to bet that those that opt-out of the recruitment database are automatically opted-in to a database of people to profile as to WHY they opted-out. :)
  • Alternatives? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:58PM (#12891160) Homepage
    OK, so let's drop the empty sloganeering, FUD about the draft and such for a few moments. The military exists. It only takes volunteers. To get the needed number of volunteers, the military recruits, which involves advertising.

    Any organization which advertises attempts to reach the target most narrowly suited to the message being generated (in this case, preferable to military service). So what is scary about this? What is wrong about this?

    Are you arguing that the military shouldn't recruit? If so, are you further arguing that the military shouldn't exist?

    If the military should exist and should recruit, what is the problem with the military using the same techniques that every private organization from CocaCola to MoveON uses?
  • Draconian (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:06PM (#12891272)
    Go ahead and rant. Go ahead and tell your kids not to listen to the evil recruiters. At that age you virtually gaurantee they will want to join. The military is a valid career alternative for anyone regardless of their highschool grades or economic status. The military cranks out more skilled tradesmen and managers than any other organization or school.

    I went from a 2.4 GPA in highschool to operating a nucleap power plant in two years. When I did finally go to college I was at the top of my class. I credit the Navy for gettign me where I am today.

  • by mrch0mp3rs (864814) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:40PM (#12892415) Homepage Journal
    There is already some organized activity to counter the provision in the No Child Left Behind Act that requires public high schools to hand over private student information to military recruiters. They counter this by supporting, instead, the Student Privacy Protection Act of 2005, which reverses the current legislation and requires schools to first obtain parental permission before releasing private student information to military recruiters.

    Here's a link to more information:

    http://www.themmob.com/lmca/about.html [themmob.com]

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