Black enlistments in the military have declined to their lowest level in more than three decades. The downturn is a major problem for the Pentagon, which is trying to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps. Absent a recession, which would reduce civilian employment opportunities for enlistment-age youth, the only way to enlarge the all-volunteer force (AVF) is to increase the rewards of service – that is, to raise pay, benefits, and bonuses. Such a course would increase the Pentagon’s budget, which has nearly tripled during the past seven years to more than $600 billion annually.
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