The MAVNI pilot recruiting-program approved by Congress through December 31st, 2009 was extended for another 60 days through February 10th 2010 until further review. Through this program, non-citizens that possess critical skills that the Army is in need of, such as critical foreign language skills or medical expertise can enlist in the Army and expedite their quest for citizenship. Most of these enlistees have much higher qualifications in comparison to the average enlistee.
Commander of the United States Special Operations Command, Admiral Eric Olson states that it is “operationally critical” to have programs such as the MAVNI program. Thurs far, the program has recruited 700 critical foreign language speakers as well as 115 medical professionals as of December 23, 2009.
While this program has done an exceptional job of addressing the short-term need of filling positions that are in dire need, it will be interesting to see the long-term success of this program. In a time when legal non-citizens are desperate to gain citizenship, an opportunity like this has the ability to attract some of the brightest.
The big question remains if those enlistees will actually end up sticking around past their fist term of enlistment and once they’ve obtained their citizenship. This brings up the question of should the military and or the Army be investing in programs that are will prepare and motivate today’s youth to fill those types of positions in the future?
This is a complicated question; meeting the most immediate need is vital and something that should be addressed first. At what point do we start thinking about how will we motivate today’s young people to fill some of those tougher positions that require extra education or special skills.
Adapting experimental programs like the MAVNI program is necessary to continue obtaining the best quality recruits and obtaining necessarily number of recruits; however, looking at more long-term solutions, it will be interesting to see what the military, and particularly the Army does when it comes to the future of recruiting in an environment where only 30% of 17-24 youth are eligible for service and most of those are considering themselves “college bound.” Are there specific strategies that can be used to motivate these potential recruits? Take a look at this entry focusing on ROTC. http://majastevanovich.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/rotc-ban-on-ivy-league-campuses-part-two/
The strength of our military depends on the personnel. It is those men and women that are serving that represent how strong our force it. Meeting the necessary numbers is critical, but obtaining the best possible recruits is a necessity as well, and something that can not be overlooked.