chapter  8
23 Pages

Recruitment, counter-recruitment and critical military studies

ByMatthew F. Rech Reply by Ben Wadham

On 8 January 2002 in the US, George Bush Jr. signed into law an educational federal grant Act entitled ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLBA). Though seemingly commendable at first glance, it being designed to improve academic attainment in disadvantaged statefunded schools (Zgonjanin 2006), a closer look at NCLBAs 670 pages revealed a provision that allowed military recruiters near unimpeded access to the personal information of enrolled students. On pain of forfeiture of federal funding, schools covered by the Act were required to release student names, addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters. As Nava (2011, 465) details, although

Matthew F. Rech*

Introduction

On 8 January 2002 in the US, George Bush Jr. signed into law an educational federal grant Act entitled ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLBA). Though seemingly commendable at first gl ce, it being designed to improve academic attainment in disadvantaged statefunded schools (Zg njanin 2006), a closer look at NCLBAs 670 pages r ve led a p ovisio that allowed military recruiters ne r uni peded acc ss to the person l informa tion of enrolled students. On pain of forfeitu e f federal funding, schools covered by the Act were required to release student names, addresses and tel phone numbers to military recruiters. As Nava (2011, 465) details, al hough

The data-gathering proposition in the NCLBA, just as with the Pentagon’s Joint Advertising Marketing and Research database (Ferner 2006), is designed, at root, to streamline the solicitations of military recruiters. It focuses a military recruiting and retention budget, which reached $7.7 billion in 2008 (Vogel 2009), effectively according to gender, age, ethnicity and recreational interests, amongst other variables. Combined with the access granted to military recruiters in that of ‘extra-curricular’ junior reserve Officer Training Corps programmes, or the Armed Services Aptitude Battery test (a ‘Careers’ test offered by two thirds of all US schools) (Allison and Solnit 2007), it is clear that military recruiting is an important set of practices in what Harding and Kershner (2011) call a ‘deeply embedded’ culture of militarism in the US.