Data: Army of More Than One
After the September 11 attacks, rocker-actress Courtney Love inquired about joining the Marines, according to The New York Observer. She wasn't alone. U.S. military officials report a doubling of recruiting contacts since September 11, including inquiries by e-mail, the Web, and phone, as well as walk-ins. On college campuses, long-declining ROTC programs are gaining popularity, reports The Boston Globe.
It's too early to tell if any of those hitting Web sites will ever hit basic training, or even visit recruitment centers, some of which report no increased interest.
Recruiters report that many who inquire, like the 37-year-old Love, are too old to enlist. Criminal records or poor test scores may disqualify others. And those eager to take a shot at trimming Osama bin Laden's beard may be discouraged by the year it takes to get trained and deployed in today's high-tech military. For now, at least, military brass are not worried. By September 30, the armed forces—reputed in some quarters to be atrophying—had already achieved recruiting and retention goals for fiscal year 2001, a goal it's met in all but two of the past 13 years.