Tagged: popular

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Trump budget cuts domestic programs, favors military and wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump proposed a budget on Monday that calls for cuts in domestic programs and seeks a sharp increase in military spending and funding for a wall on the Mexican border.

Presidential budgets are rarely enacted by the U.S. Congress, which controls federal purse strings, but they allow the White House to lay out its priorities for the year.

In a bid to show conservatives that the administration is embracing some fiscal discipline, the plan calls for deep cuts in non-military spending that would lower the federal budget deficit by more than $3 trillion over 10 years.

But those cuts fly in the face of a two-year budget deal passed last week by Congress that raised spending limits on both military and domestic programs by $300 billion.

That agreement makes the president’s budget request even less relevant than it would be normally because Congress has already locked in its own spending priorities.

The Trump administration says, however, that Congress need not spend all of the money called for by the deal, particularly with regard to domestic spending.

The budget plan calls for spending $57 billion less in fiscal year 2019 than the bipartisan agreement allows. If ever brought into force, the cuts could slash programs for the poor that provide housing and healthcare.

The proposal also calls for overhauling Medicare and Medicaid, two government-funded healthcare programs that are widely popular. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to leave them untouched, but the budget plan argues they can be made more efficient without harming recipients.

The proposed cuts drew a rebuke from the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Budget Committee, John Yarmuth.

”These cuts to critical federal investments are so extreme they can only reflect a disdain for working families and a total lack of vision for a stronger society,” he said in a statement.

U.S. Government Publishing Office employees BethAnn Telford, left, and Bernie Morrison unpack new copies of President Donald Trump’s Budget for the U.S. Government for the Fiscal Year 2019 at the U.S. Government Publishing Office in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The budget forecasts annual gross domestic product growth of at least 3 percent over the next three years, an aggressive target that is crucial to help cover the cost of the $1.5 trillion tax cuts passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in December.

Still, given the swelling of the federal debt in the wake of the tax bill and the two-year budget agreement, Trump’s proposal notably abandons the objective of eliminating the federal budget deficit after 10 years, a longstanding goal of fiscal conservatives.

MILITARY, INFRASTRUCTURE

Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal provides for $716 billion in spending on military programs and for maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal,

Slideshow (5 Images)

It includes $200 billion for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and outlays $23 billion for border security — most of it for the building of a wall on the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration.

The wall is a key item for Trump’s political base of supporters but is opposed by Democrats. The issue has become a sticking point in talks to keep alive a federal program to spare from deportation so-called “Dreamers”– children brought to the country by illegal immigrant parents.

Also on border security, Trump’s budget calls for $571 million in additional funding to hire 2,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and agents.

It also requests funding for more judges and attorneys to handle cases of illegal immigration.

In keeping with another Trump campaign promise, the budget provides for $200 billion in federal funds intended to spur $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments with state, local and private partners over the next 10 years — an ambitious program that will have to be approved by Congress.

The budget also seeks some $13 billion in new funding over the next two years to combat the opioid epidemic.

The proposal increases U.S. contributions to the United Nations, an organization that Trump has repeatedly criticized, by 4.5 percent. The budget explains the increase as supporting American interests, including “drug control, crime and terrorism prevention, and trade promotion.”

Reporting by Ginger Gibson and James Oliphant; Additional reporting by David Morgan and Katanga Johnson; Editing by Peter Cooney and Alistair Bell

References

  1. ^ The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. (thomsonreuters.com)
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Eisenhower would be aghast at Trump's massive military parade plan

Ike believed the president’s job was to contain the influence of the military, not generate uncritical cheering for military power.

The last Army general[1] to occupy the White House, Dwight D. Eisenhower, would be spinning in his grave if he knew that President Trump, a man who used a medical deferment[2] to avoid combat service in Vietnam, was planning a giant military parade[3] in Washington.

It’s not that Ike disliked a parade. In fact, he was honored with many of them. After leading the allied forces in Europe to victory in World War II, Eisenhower became the world’s most popular soldier, and cities competed to celebrate him. On June 12, 1945, Ike was hailed by the London crowds and given the Order of Merit[4] by King George VI. Two days later, Parisians thronged the Champs-Elysées to greet Ike as he rode toward the Arc de Triomphe, where he received a decoration from the French president, Charles de Gaulle[5].

But nothing matched the parade that greeted Ike in New York City upon his return to the United States. On June 19, 4 million New Yorkers[6] lined Fifth Avenue and Broadway to welcome the commander home, and they filled the air with ticker-tape and confetti. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia declared a holiday for city employees and urged everyone to go to the streets to cheer this ordinary, humble man who had brought Hitler’s hordes to their knees.

More: Trump’s parade: Appearances, not strength, matter to our president[7]

More: Let Trump military parade pass us by[8]

Eisenhower tolerated these parades. He understood that the public needed to celebrate victory after so much shared sacrifice. But he did not relish this kind of frenzy. Following the London parade, he spoke to the public at the Guildhall, the ancient seat of the city’s mayor. Rather than revel in the euphoria of victory, Eisenhower expressed his “feelings of profound sadness[9]” that so many friends and loyal comrades had not lived to see the day of victory. Honors and parades, he said, “cannot soothe the anguish of the widow or the orphan whose husband or father will not return.”

When he took the microphone at New York’s City Hall, he sent a similar message. “There is no greater pacifist[10] than the regular officer. Any man who is forced to turn his attention to the horrors of the battlefield, to the grotesque shapes that are left there for the burying squad — he doesn’t want war. He never wants it.” Even in a moment of triumph, Ike wanted to remind the crowd that war was a dirty, bloody business, full of destruction and pain.

As president, Eisenhower sought always to resist using military force. Six months into his first term in office, he agreed to an armistice in the Korean War[11]. He refused to send more Americans to die in an unpopular war whose objective was unclear.

In 1954, he declined to send Americans to fight in Vietnam, even when the French government appealed for help in their colonial war there. “I cannot conceive of a greater tragedy for America than to get involved now in an all-out war[12] in any part” of Southeast Asia, he told his cabinet.

When the British and French invaded Egypt in 1956 in a half-baked effort to topple President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had recently nationalized the Suez Canal[13], threatening Europe’s oil supply, Eisenhower refused to intervene on behalf of his allies[14]. Using force there would only inflame anti-American opinion across the Middle East, he insisted.

More: Bring military parades back to Washington[15]

POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media[16]

Eisenhower was hardly a pacifist. He knew military force needed to be kept in a perpetual state of readiness to deter other nations from threatening American friends and allies. He rattled America’s nuclear weapons[17] more than once, insisting that he would use them to protect embattled outposts like West Berlin or Taiwan. But Eisenhower felt no need to worship the armed forces, or to bask in the glow of military pomp.

Ike’s wariness about the role of the military in a democracy came through crystal clear in his famous Farewell Address. “A vital element in keeping the peace[18] is our military establishment,” the president acknowledged on Jan. 17, 1961, as he left office. “Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.” But at the same time, the armed services and the “military-industrial complex” should never be given “unwarranted influence” in our democracy. As the armed forces grew larger and more powerful, Eisenhower warned, “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

It is the president’s job to contain the influence of the military, Ike believed, not generate uncritical cheering for military power. As he had done in London and New York, Eisenhower in his final address called for more constructive deeds than war. “America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.” Take it from Ike: Modesty and generosity beat a parade every time.

William I. Hitchcock, the Randolph Compton Professor at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, is the author of The Age of Eisenhower:America and the World in the 1950s, to be published March 20.[19]

 

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2nQql6A

References

  1. ^ Army general (periodicpresidents.com)
  2. ^ medical deferment (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ military parade (www.usatoday.com)
  4. ^ Order of Merit (books.google.com)
  5. ^ Charles de Gaulle (books.google.com)
  6. ^ 4 million New Yorkers (books.google.com)
  7. ^ Trump’s parade: Appearances, not strength, matter to our president (www.usatoday.com)
  8. ^ Let Trump military parade pass us by (www.usatoday.com)
  9. ^ profound sadness (www.kshs.org)
  10. ^ no greater pacifist (books.google.com)
  11. ^ armistice in the Korean War (www.bbc.com)
  12. ^ all-out war (books.google.com)
  13. ^ Suez Canal (history.state.gov)
  14. ^ intervene on behalf of his allies (www.eiu.edu)
  15. ^ Bring military parades back to Washington (www.usatoday.com)
  16. ^ race, justice, media (www.usatoday.com)
  17. ^ nuclear weapons (www.commondreams.org)
  18. ^ keeping the peace (mcadams.posc.mu.edu)
  19. ^ The Age of Eisenhower: (www.amazon.com)
0

Lawmakers demand answers about Strava 'heat map' revealing military sites

GPS tracking company Strava published an interactive map in Nov. 2017, showing where people have used fitness tracking devices. The map highlights American military bases overseas. (Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday called on Strava, the maker of a popular fitness app, to explain why it published a global “heat map” online that inadvertently highlighted the locations of sensitive government facilities throughout the world by revealing the movements of millions of users.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, demanded that Strava CEO James Quarles explain why it published the heat map, what privacy protections it offered users, how it secures data from hackers and whether the company has changed its policies since news of the heat map broke over the weekend.

“The increasing popularity of fitness trackers and other wearable technology has raised serious questions about the types of data they collect and share and the degree to which consumers control their own personal information,” said the letter[1], which eight committee Democrats co-signed. “The data these devices collect reveals users’ precise locations, daily activities, and health information. … In this case, Strava made no attempt to secure information, and instead published location information on the Internet for anyone to see.”

Strava issued a statement Wednesday evening saying, “We’ve received a letter from the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. We look forward to working with his staff in answering the letter’s questions.”

News reports on Strava[2], in The Washington Post and elsewhere, prompted a U.S. military review[3] this week of the fitness devices and other telecommunications equipment that can broadcast the locations of users in sensitive locations. The news also underscored growing concerns about the privacy of fitness apps, as experts found ways to use the Strava app to find the names and photographs of individual users, along with the biking and jogging routes they used.

Such user data, along with military supply and convoy routes, is potentially valuable information to adversaries and those who might plan attacks on U.S. forces, experts said.

Previously, Strava has urged its users to review their privacy settings and said it was working with government and military officials to address concerns about the location of sensitive facilities.

The controversy also has highlighted concerns about ordinary users of fitness tracking devices and similar apps on smartphones, as well as the growing importance of location data generally to Silicon Valley.

Many tech companies collect the locations of their users and market this information in various ways, such as for targeting advertising to people near certain stores. Yet privacy experts say that the locations of individuals are among the most sensitive data sets, potentially showing where people live and work, and what groups or religious organizations they affiliate with. Relationships among people — including relationships that individuals may want to keep private — also can be revealed by location data.

The letter from congressional Democrats also indicates an interest in how privacy settings are established by default, meaning for users who don’t alter them before using. Privacy experts have long warned that most people pay little attention to default settings and end up discovering that their data has been released only after it already has happened.

Elena Hernandez, spokesperson for the full House committee, said, “Our Democratic colleagues did not ask us to join this letter. However, Energy and Commerce Republicans take data privacy issues seriously and will continue to closely monitor the situation with Strava.”

References

  1. ^ the letter (democrats-energycommerce.house.gov)
  2. ^ News reports on Strava (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ a U.S. military review (www.washingtonpost.com)
0

Lawmakers demand answers about Strava 'heat map' revealing military sites

GPS tracking company Strava published an interactive map in Nov. 2017, showing where people have used fitness tracking devices. The map highlights American military bases overseas. (Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday called on Strava, the maker of a popular fitness app, to explain why it published a global “heat map” online that inadvertently highlighted the locations of sensitive government facilities throughout the world by revealing the movements of millions of users.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, demanded that Strava CEO James Quarles explain why it published the heat map, what privacy protections it offered users, how it secures data from hackers and whether the company has changed its policies since news of the heat map broke over the weekend.

“The increasing popularity of fitness trackers and other wearable technology has raised serious questions about the types of data they collect and share and the degree to which consumers control their own personal information,” said the letter[1], which eight committee Democrats co-signed. “The data these devices collect reveals users’ precise locations, daily activities, and health information. … In this case, Strava made no attempt to secure information, and instead published location information on the Internet for anyone to see.”

Strava issued a statement Wednesday evening saying, “We’ve received a letter from the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. We look forward to working with his staff in answering the letter’s questions.”

News reports on Strava[2], in The Washington Post and elsewhere, prompted a U.S. military review[3] this week of the fitness devices and other telecommunications equipment that can broadcast the locations of users in sensitive locations. The news also underscored growing concerns about the privacy of fitness apps, as experts found ways to use the Strava app to find the names and photographs of individual users, along with the biking and jogging routes they used.

Such user data, along with military supply and convoy routes, is potentially valuable information to adversaries and those who might plan attacks on U.S. forces, experts said.

Previously, Strava has urged its users to review their privacy settings and said it was working with government and military officials to address concerns about the location of sensitive facilities.

The controversy also has highlighted concerns about ordinary users of fitness tracking devices and similar apps on smartphones, as well as the growing importance of location data generally to Silicon Valley.

Many tech companies collect the locations of their users and market this information in various ways, such as for targeting advertising to people near certain stores. Yet privacy experts say that the locations of individuals are among the most sensitive data sets, potentially showing where people live and work, and what groups or religious organizations they affiliate with. Relationships among people — including relationships that individuals may want to keep private — also can be revealed by location data.

The letter from congressional Democrats also indicates an interest in how privacy settings are established by default, meaning for users who don’t alter them before using. Privacy experts have long warned that most people pay little attention to default settings and end up discovering that their data has been released only after it already has happened.

Elena Hernandez, spokesperson for the full House committee, said, “Our Democratic colleagues did not ask us to join this letter. However, Energy and Commerce Republicans take data privacy issues seriously and will continue to closely monitor the situation with Strava.”

References

  1. ^ the letter (democrats-energycommerce.house.gov)
  2. ^ News reports on Strava (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ a U.S. military review (www.washingtonpost.com)
0

Lawmakers demand answers about Strava 'heat map' revealing military sites

GPS tracking company Strava published an interactive map in Nov. 2017, showing where people have used fitness tracking devices. The map highlights American military bases overseas. (Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday called on Strava, the maker of a popular fitness app, to explain why it published a global “heat map” online that inadvertently highlighted the locations of sensitive government facilities throughout the world by revealing the movements of millions of users.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, demanded that Strava CEO James Quarles explain why it published the heat map, what privacy protections it offered users, how it secures data from hackers and whether the company has changed its policies since news of the heat map broke over the weekend.

“The increasing popularity of fitness trackers and other wearable technology has raised serious questions about the types of data they collect and share and the degree to which consumers control their own personal information,” said the letter[1], which eight committee Democrats co-signed. “The data these devices collect reveals users’ precise locations, daily activities, and health information. … In this case, Strava made no attempt to secure information, and instead published location information on the Internet for anyone to see.”

Strava issued a statement Wednesday evening saying, “We’ve received a letter from the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. We look forward to working with his staff in answering the letter’s questions.”

News reports on Strava[2], in The Washington Post and elsewhere, prompted a U.S. military review[3] this week of the fitness devices and other telecommunications equipment that can broadcast the locations of users in sensitive locations. The news also underscored growing concerns about the privacy of fitness apps, as experts found ways to use the Strava app to find the names and photographs of individual users, along with the biking and jogging routes they used.

Such user data, along with military supply and convoy routes, is potentially valuable information to adversaries and those who might plan attacks on U.S. forces, experts said.

Previously, Strava has urged its users to review their privacy settings and said it was working with government and military officials to address concerns about the location of sensitive facilities.

The controversy also has highlighted concerns about ordinary users of fitness tracking devices and similar apps on smartphones, as well as the growing importance of location data generally to Silicon Valley.

Many tech companies collect the locations of their users and market this information in various ways, such as for targeting advertising to people near certain stores. Yet privacy experts say that the locations of individuals are among the most sensitive data sets, potentially showing where people live and work, and what groups or religious organizations they affiliate with. Relationships among people — including relationships that individuals may want to keep private — also can be revealed by location data.

The letter from congressional Democrats also indicates an interest in how privacy settings are established by default, meaning for users who don’t alter them before using. Privacy experts have long warned that most people pay little attention to default settings and end up discovering that their data has been released only after it already has happened.

Elena Hernandez, spokesperson for the full House committee, said, “Our Democratic colleagues did not ask us to join this letter. However, Energy and Commerce Republicans take data privacy issues seriously and will continue to closely monitor the situation with Strava.”

References

  1. ^ the letter (democrats-energycommerce.house.gov)
  2. ^ News reports on Strava (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ a U.S. military review (www.washingtonpost.com)
0

Are Military Members “The Lowest of Our Low”?

Help A Hero/Flickr

Source: Help A Hero/Flickr

How dumb are people in the military? 

In a recent news story[1], Gregory Salcido, who works at a high school in California and served on the city council, referred to military members as “the lowest of our low.”

Presumably he was referring to education[2], intelligence[3], and perhaps socioeconomic status.

Is he right? Let’s find out.

Are Military Members Uneducated?

One way to find an answer is to look at education. Let’s leave aside military officers, who are required to earn a college degree before joining. Presumably, officers are not who you have in mind when wondering about the background and quality of military members. You’re probably thinking about the enlisted troops. These are people who typically join right after high school.

Contrary to popular perceptions, America’s enlisted troops are not poorly educated. In fact, Pew reports[4] that 98 percent of the enlisted force has at least a high school diploma. This is compared with 86.7 percent of the U.S. civilian population aged 25 or older.

The military typically requires a high school diploma to join, with rare exceptions. They have a rule[5] that they cannot consist of more than 10 percent of individuals who have a GED (high school equivalency exam).

But each branch sets their own limits, which is often less than 10 percent. Research has found[6] that people who leave high school early drop out of the military at a higher rate than those who graduate.

One study[7] found that early attrition rates among high school dropouts and those with a GED is 8 percent higher than for high school graduates.

The military spends a lot of money on each recruit. They want each person to serve the duration of their enlistment contract. It is in the military’s best interest to identify characteristics that predict success. One marker is education, which military members do better on than their similarly aged peers.

Military Intelligence

Another way to measure whether military members are dumb is cognitive[8] ability, or IQ.

Some question[9] the idea of using standardized testing to measure intelligence. Others say[10] these tests matter.

The military, universities, and businesses[11] spend vast sums of money researching and designing standardized tests. How do military members stack up against their non-military peers?

All military recruits must take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to qualify for enlistment. The ASVAB is essentially an IQ test[12] (correlation = 0.8). The ASVAB predicts SAT scores (correlation = .82). And it correlates[13] with ACT scores (0.77).

To qualify, recruits must score higher than roughly one-third of all who take the ASVAB. The lowest acceptable percentile score to join is 36 for the Air Force, 35 for the Navy, 32 for the Marine Corps, and 31 for the Army.

By definition, the worst test taker who makes it into the military still scores higher than one-third of his or her peers. The military intentionally slices off the bottom third of test takers, not allowing them to join.

Moral[14] quandaries aside, this means that the military selects for the upper two-thirds of ASVAB test takers. Another study[15] found that among those who finish high school, about 1 in 4 (23%) people do not attain the minimum ASVAB score to join any branch of the military.

There’s also empirical research investigating the influence of intelligence on military success. In one study[16], researchers found that a person’s score on an intelligence test, along with his 2-mile run time, were the best predictors of success in infantry training.

Or take a study about tank gunners[17]. You might not think a standardized intelligence test would have much effect on the ability to shoot straight.

But the data show it does. Replacing a gunner who scores around the 20th percentile with one who scores around the 55th percentile improves the likelihood of hitting a target by 34 percent.

Are They Poor?

There are other differences between military members and their non-military peers. You might think they’re poorer. Isn’t the modern military full of men and women from low-income backgrounds who only join because their options are limited?

For some, this is undoubtedly true (including for yours truly, see here[18]). But generally, it’s a misconception.

In a report titled “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers”[19] from the Heritage Foundation, they found that enlisted military troops disproportionately come from middle class and upper middle class families.

In fact, 50 percent of the enlisted recruits come from families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution, while only 10 percent come from the bottom 20 percent.

Of course, this may be a consequence of lower income individuals not having the means to get the education and testing credentials necessary to join. Still, it overturns the idea that the military is made up of destitute people who have nowhere else to go.

The Lowest of Our Low

Finally, according to the Pentagon[20], 71 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 fail would fail[21] to qualify for military service. The reasons are primarily due to educational, behavioral, criminal, or fitness issues. 

In sum, enlisted military members are better educated, get higher test scores, and come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than their similarly aged peers in society.

Selection effects have a lot to do with these differences. The military recruits young people who are particularly bright and fit. They tend to perform better.

Regardless of such prevalent misconceptions, Americans hold the military in very high esteem. According to Pew[22], Americans view service members as more trustworthy than scientists, elected officials, and the news media.

Follow Rob on Twitter: @robkhenderson[23][24]

References

  1. ^ recent news story (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Psychology Today looks at education (www.psychologytoday.com)
  3. ^ Psychology Today looks at intelligence (www.psychologytoday.com)
  4. ^ Pew reports (www.pewsocialtrends.org)
  5. ^ They have a rule (www.judsonisd.org)
  6. ^ Research has found (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. ^ One study (www.rand.org)
  8. ^ Psychology Today looks at cognitive (www.psychologytoday.com)
  9. ^ Some question (www.businessinsider.com)
  10. ^ Others say (www.vox.com)
  11. ^ businesses (www.businessinsider.com)
  12. ^ essentially an IQ test (journals.sagepub.com)
  13. ^ correlates (www.iapsych.com)
  14. ^ Psychology Today looks at Moral (www.psychologytoday.com)
  15. ^ Another study (edtrust.org)
  16. ^ In one study (journals.sagepub.com)
  17. ^ a study about tank gunners (journals.sagepub.com)
  18. ^ here (news.yale.edu)
  19. ^ “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers” (www.heritage.org)
  20. ^ according to the Pentagon (www.wsj.com)
  21. ^ would fail (www.usatoday.com)
  22. ^ According to Pew (www.pewforum.org)
  23. ^ Psychology Today looks at Twitter (www.psychologytoday.com)
  24. ^ @robkhenderson (twitter.com)
0

Are Military Members “The Lowest of Our Low”?

Help A Hero/Flickr

Source: Help A Hero/Flickr

How dumb are people in the military? 

In a recent news story[1], Gregory Salcido, who works at a high school in California and served on the city council, referred to military members as “the lowest of our low.”

Presumably he was referring to education[2], intelligence[3], and perhaps socioeconomic status.

Is he right? Let’s find out.

Are Military Members Uneducated?

One way to find an answer is to look at education. Let’s leave aside military officers, who are required to earn a college degree before joining. Presumably, officers are not who you have in mind when wondering about the background and quality of military members. You’re probably thinking about the enlisted troops. These are people who typically join right after high school.

Contrary to popular perceptions, America’s enlisted troops are not poorly educated. In fact, Pew reports[4] that 98 percent of the enlisted force has at least a high school diploma. This is compared with 86.7 percent of the U.S. civilian population aged 25 or older.

The military typically requires a high school diploma to join, with rare exceptions. They have a rule[5] that they cannot consist of more than 10 percent of individuals who have a GED (high school equivalency exam).

But each branch sets their own limits, which is often less than 10 percent. Research has found[6] that people who leave high school early drop out of the military at a higher rate than those who graduate.

One study[7] found that early attrition rates among high school dropouts and those with a GED is 8 percent higher than for high school graduates.

The military spends a lot of money on each recruit. They want each person to serve the duration of their enlistment contract. It is in the military’s best interest to identify characteristics that predict success. One marker is education, which military members do better on than their similarly aged peers.

Military Intelligence

Another way to measure whether military members are dumb is cognitive[8] ability, or IQ.

Some question[9] the idea of using standardized testing to measure intelligence. Others say[10] these tests matter.

The military, universities, and businesses[11] spend vast sums of money researching and designing standardized tests. How do military members stack up against their non-military peers?

All military recruits must take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to qualify for enlistment. The ASVAB is essentially an IQ test[12] (correlation = 0.8). The ASVAB predicts SAT scores (correlation = .82). And it correlates[13] with ACT scores (0.77).

To qualify, recruits must score higher than roughly one-third of all who take the ASVAB. The lowest acceptable percentile score to join is 36 for the Air Force, 35 for the Navy, 32 for the Marine Corps, and 31 for the Army.

By definition, the worst test taker who makes it into the military still scores higher than one-third of his or her peers. The military intentionally slices off the bottom third of test takers, not allowing them to join.

Moral[14] quandaries aside, this means that the military selects for the upper two-thirds of ASVAB test takers. Another study[15] found that among those who finish high school, about 1 in 4 (23%) people do not attain the minimum ASVAB score to join any branch of the military.

There’s also empirical research investigating the influence of intelligence on military success. In one study[16], researchers found that a person’s score on an intelligence test, along with his 2-mile run time, were the best predictors of success in infantry training.

Or take a study about tank gunners[17]. You might not think a standardized intelligence test would have much effect on the ability to shoot straight.

But the data show it does. Replacing a gunner who scores around the 20th percentile with one who scores around the 55th percentile improves the likelihood of hitting a target by 34 percent.

Are They Poor?

There are other differences between military members and their non-military peers. You might think they’re poorer. Isn’t the modern military full of men and women from low-income backgrounds who only join because their options are limited?

For some, this is undoubtedly true (including for yours truly, see here[18]). But generally, it’s a misconception.

In a report titled “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers”[19] from the Heritage Foundation, they found that enlisted military troops disproportionately come from middle class and upper middle class families.

In fact, 50 percent of the enlisted recruits come from families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution, while only 10 percent come from the bottom 20 percent.

Of course, this may be a consequence of lower income individuals not having the means to get the education and testing credentials necessary to join. Still, it overturns the idea that the military is made up of destitute people who have nowhere else to go.

The Lowest of Our Low

Finally, according to the Pentagon[20], 71 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 fail would fail[21] to qualify for military service. The reasons are primarily due to educational, behavioral, criminal, or fitness issues. 

In sum, enlisted military members are better educated, get higher test scores, and come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than their similarly aged peers in society.

Selection effects have a lot to do with these differences. The military recruits young people who are particularly bright and fit. They tend to perform better.

Regardless of such prevalent misconceptions, Americans hold the military in very high esteem. According to Pew[22], Americans view service members as more trustworthy than scientists, elected officials, and the news media.

Follow Rob on Twitter: @robkhenderson[23][24]

References

  1. ^ recent news story (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Psychology Today looks at education (www.psychologytoday.com)
  3. ^ Psychology Today looks at intelligence (www.psychologytoday.com)
  4. ^ Pew reports (www.pewsocialtrends.org)
  5. ^ They have a rule (www.judsonisd.org)
  6. ^ Research has found (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. ^ One study (www.rand.org)
  8. ^ Psychology Today looks at cognitive (www.psychologytoday.com)
  9. ^ Some question (www.businessinsider.com)
  10. ^ Others say (www.vox.com)
  11. ^ businesses (www.businessinsider.com)
  12. ^ essentially an IQ test (journals.sagepub.com)
  13. ^ correlates (www.iapsych.com)
  14. ^ Psychology Today looks at Moral (www.psychologytoday.com)
  15. ^ Another study (edtrust.org)
  16. ^ In one study (journals.sagepub.com)
  17. ^ a study about tank gunners (journals.sagepub.com)
  18. ^ here (news.yale.edu)
  19. ^ “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers” (www.heritage.org)
  20. ^ according to the Pentagon (www.wsj.com)
  21. ^ would fail (www.usatoday.com)
  22. ^ According to Pew (www.pewforum.org)
  23. ^ Psychology Today looks at Twitter (www.psychologytoday.com)
  24. ^ @robkhenderson (twitter.com)
0

Are Military Members “The Lowest of Our Low”?

Help A Hero/Flickr

Source: Help A Hero/Flickr

How dumb are people in the military? 

In a recent news story[1], Gregory Salcido, who works at a high school in California and served on the city council, referred to military members as “the lowest of our low.”

Presumably he was referring to education[2], intelligence[3], and perhaps socioeconomic status.

Is he right? Let’s find out.

Are Military Members Uneducated?

One way to find an answer is to look at education. Let’s leave aside military officers, who are required to earn a college degree before joining. Presumably, officers are not who you have in mind when wondering about the background and quality of military members. You’re probably thinking about the enlisted troops. These are people who typically join right after high school.

Contrary to popular perceptions, America’s enlisted troops are not poorly educated. In fact, Pew reports[4] that 98 percent of the enlisted force has at least a high school diploma. This is compared with 86.7 percent of the U.S. civilian population aged 25 or older.

The military typically requires a high school diploma to join, with rare exceptions. They have a rule[5] that they cannot consist of more than 10 percent of individuals who have a GED (high school equivalency exam).

But each branch sets their own limits, which is often less than 10 percent. Research has found[6] that people who leave high school early drop out of the military at a higher rate than those who graduate.

One study[7] found that early attrition rates among high school dropouts and those with a GED is 8 percent higher than for high school graduates.

The military spends a lot of money on each recruit. They want each person to serve the duration of their enlistment contract. It is in the military’s best interest to identify characteristics that predict success. One marker is education, which military members do better on than their similarly aged peers.

Military Intelligence

Another way to measure whether military members are dumb is cognitive[8] ability, or IQ.

Some question[9] the idea of using standardized testing to measure intelligence. Others say[10] these tests matter.

The military, universities, and businesses[11] spend vast sums of money researching and designing standardized tests. How do military members stack up against their non-military peers?

All military recruits must take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to qualify for enlistment. The ASVAB is essentially an IQ test[12] (correlation = 0.8). The ASVAB predicts SAT scores (correlation = .82). And it correlates[13] with ACT scores (0.77).

To qualify, recruits must score higher than roughly one-third of all who take the ASVAB. The lowest acceptable percentile score to join is 36 for the Air Force, 35 for the Navy, 32 for the Marine Corps, and 31 for the Army.

By definition, the worst test taker who makes it into the military still scores higher than one-third of his or her peers. The military intentionally slices off the bottom third of test takers, not allowing them to join.

Moral[14] quandaries aside, this means that the military selects for the upper two-thirds of ASVAB test takers. Another study[15] found that among those who finish high school, about 1 in 4 (23%) people do not attain the minimum ASVAB score to join any branch of the military.

There’s also empirical research investigating the influence of intelligence on military success. In one study[16], researchers found that a person’s score on an intelligence test, along with his 2-mile run time, were the best predictors of success in infantry training.

Or take a study about tank gunners[17]. You might not think a standardized intelligence test would have much effect on the ability to shoot straight.

But the data show it does. Replacing a gunner who scores around the 20th percentile with one who scores around the 55th percentile improves the likelihood of hitting a target by 34 percent.

Are They Poor?

There are other differences between military members and their non-military peers. You might think they’re poorer. Isn’t the modern military full of men and women from low-income backgrounds who only join because their options are limited?

For some, this is undoubtedly true (including for yours truly, see here[18]). But generally, it’s a misconception.

In a report titled “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers”[19] from the Heritage Foundation, they found that enlisted military troops disproportionately come from middle class and upper middle class families.

In fact, 50 percent of the enlisted recruits come from families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution, while only 10 percent come from the bottom 20 percent.

Of course, this may be a consequence of lower income individuals not having the means to get the education and testing credentials necessary to join. Still, it overturns the idea that the military is made up of destitute people who have nowhere else to go.

The Lowest of Our Low

Finally, according to the Pentagon[20], 71 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 fail would fail[21] to qualify for military service. The reasons are primarily due to educational, behavioral, criminal, or fitness issues. 

In sum, enlisted military members are better educated, get higher test scores, and come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than their similarly aged peers in society.

Selection effects have a lot to do with these differences. The military recruits young people who are particularly bright and fit. They tend to perform better.

Regardless of such prevalent misconceptions, Americans hold the military in very high esteem. According to Pew[22], Americans view service members as more trustworthy than scientists, elected officials, and the news media.

Follow Rob on Twitter: @robkhenderson[23][24]

References

  1. ^ recent news story (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Psychology Today looks at education (www.psychologytoday.com)
  3. ^ Psychology Today looks at intelligence (www.psychologytoday.com)
  4. ^ Pew reports (www.pewsocialtrends.org)
  5. ^ They have a rule (www.judsonisd.org)
  6. ^ Research has found (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. ^ One study (www.rand.org)
  8. ^ Psychology Today looks at cognitive (www.psychologytoday.com)
  9. ^ Some question (www.businessinsider.com)
  10. ^ Others say (www.vox.com)
  11. ^ businesses (www.businessinsider.com)
  12. ^ essentially an IQ test (journals.sagepub.com)
  13. ^ correlates (www.iapsych.com)
  14. ^ Psychology Today looks at Moral (www.psychologytoday.com)
  15. ^ Another study (edtrust.org)
  16. ^ In one study (journals.sagepub.com)
  17. ^ a study about tank gunners (journals.sagepub.com)
  18. ^ here (news.yale.edu)
  19. ^ “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers” (www.heritage.org)
  20. ^ according to the Pentagon (www.wsj.com)
  21. ^ would fail (www.usatoday.com)
  22. ^ According to Pew (www.pewforum.org)
  23. ^ Psychology Today looks at Twitter (www.psychologytoday.com)
  24. ^ @robkhenderson (twitter.com)
0

Are Military Members “The Lowest of Our Low”?

Help A Hero/Flickr

Source: Help A Hero/Flickr

How dumb are people in the military? 

In a recent news story[1], Gregory Salcido, who works at a high school in California and served on the city council, referred to military members as “the lowest of our low.”

Presumably he was referring to education[2], intelligence[3], and perhaps socioeconomic status.

Is he right? Let’s find out.

Are Military Members Uneducated?

One way to find an answer is to look at education. Let’s leave aside military officers, who are required to earn a college degree before joining. Presumably, officers are not who you have in mind when wondering about the background and quality of military members. You’re probably thinking about the enlisted troops. These are people who typically join right after high school.

Contrary to popular perceptions, America’s enlisted troops are not poorly educated. In fact, Pew reports[4] that 98 percent of the enlisted force has at least a high school diploma. This is compared with 86.7 percent of the U.S. civilian population aged 25 or older.

The military typically requires a high school diploma to join, with rare exceptions. They have a rule[5] that they cannot consist of more than 10 percent of individuals who have a GED (high school equivalency exam).

But each branch sets their own limits, which is often less than 10 percent. Research has found[6] that people who leave high school early drop out of the military at a higher rate than those who graduate.

One study[7] found that early attrition rates among high school dropouts and those with a GED is 8 percent higher than for high school graduates.

The military spends a lot of money on each recruit. They want each person to serve the duration of their enlistment contract. It is in the military’s best interest to identify characteristics that predict success. One marker is education, which military members do better on than their similarly aged peers.

Military Intelligence

Another way to measure whether military members are dumb is cognitive[8] ability, or IQ.

Some question[9] the idea of using standardized testing to measure intelligence. Others say[10] these tests matter.

The military, universities, and businesses[11] spend vast sums of money researching and designing standardized tests. How do military members stack up against their non-military peers?

All military recruits must take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to qualify for enlistment. The ASVAB is essentially an IQ test[12] (correlation = 0.8). The ASVAB predicts SAT scores (correlation = .82). And it correlates[13] with ACT scores (0.77).

To qualify, recruits must score higher than roughly one-third of all who take the ASVAB. The lowest acceptable percentile score to join is 36 for the Air Force, 35 for the Navy, 32 for the Marine Corps, and 31 for the Army.

By definition, the worst test taker who makes it into the military still scores higher than one-third of his or her peers. The military intentionally slices off the bottom third of test takers, not allowing them to join.

Moral[14] quandaries aside, this means that the military selects for the upper two-thirds of ASVAB test takers. Another study[15] found that among those who finish high school, about 1 in 4 (23%) people do not attain the minimum ASVAB score to join any branch of the military.

There’s also empirical research investigating the influence of intelligence on military success. In one study[16], researchers found that a person’s score on an intelligence test, along with his 2-mile run time, were the best predictors of success in infantry training.

Or take a study about tank gunners[17]. You might not think a standardized intelligence test would have much effect on the ability to shoot straight.

But the data show it does. Replacing a gunner who scores around the 20th percentile with one who scores around the 55th percentile improves the likelihood of hitting a target by 34 percent.

Are They Poor?

There are other differences between military members and their non-military peers. You might think they’re poorer. Isn’t the modern military full of men and women from low-income backgrounds who only join because their options are limited?

For some, this is undoubtedly true (including for yours truly, see here[18]). But generally, it’s a misconception.

In a report titled “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers”[19] from the Heritage Foundation, they found that enlisted military troops disproportionately come from middle class and upper middle class families.

In fact, 50 percent of the enlisted recruits come from families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution, while only 10 percent come from the bottom 20 percent.

Of course, this may be a consequence of lower income individuals not having the means to get the education and testing credentials necessary to join. Still, it overturns the idea that the military is made up of destitute people who have nowhere else to go.

The Lowest of Our Low

Finally, according to the Pentagon[20], 71 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 fail would fail[21] to qualify for military service. The reasons are primarily due to educational, behavioral, criminal, or fitness issues. 

In sum, enlisted military members are better educated, get higher test scores, and come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than their similarly aged peers in society.

Selection effects have a lot to do with these differences. The military recruits young people who are particularly bright and fit. They tend to perform better.

Regardless of such prevalent misconceptions, Americans hold the military in very high esteem. According to Pew[22], Americans view service members as more trustworthy than scientists, elected officials, and the news media.

Follow Rob on Twitter: @robkhenderson[23][24]

References

  1. ^ recent news story (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Psychology Today looks at education (www.psychologytoday.com)
  3. ^ Psychology Today looks at intelligence (www.psychologytoday.com)
  4. ^ Pew reports (www.pewsocialtrends.org)
  5. ^ They have a rule (www.judsonisd.org)
  6. ^ Research has found (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. ^ One study (www.rand.org)
  8. ^ Psychology Today looks at cognitive (www.psychologytoday.com)
  9. ^ Some question (www.businessinsider.com)
  10. ^ Others say (www.vox.com)
  11. ^ businesses (www.businessinsider.com)
  12. ^ essentially an IQ test (journals.sagepub.com)
  13. ^ correlates (www.iapsych.com)
  14. ^ Psychology Today looks at Moral (www.psychologytoday.com)
  15. ^ Another study (edtrust.org)
  16. ^ In one study (journals.sagepub.com)
  17. ^ a study about tank gunners (journals.sagepub.com)
  18. ^ here (news.yale.edu)
  19. ^ “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers” (www.heritage.org)
  20. ^ according to the Pentagon (www.wsj.com)
  21. ^ would fail (www.usatoday.com)
  22. ^ According to Pew (www.pewforum.org)
  23. ^ Psychology Today looks at Twitter (www.psychologytoday.com)
  24. ^ @robkhenderson (twitter.com)
0

Are Military Members “The Lowest of Our Low”?

Help A Hero/Flickr

Source: Help A Hero/Flickr

How dumb are people in the military? 

In a recent news story[1], Gregory Salcido, who works at a high school in California and served on the city council, referred to military members as “the lowest of our low.”

Presumably he was referring to education[2], intelligence[3], and perhaps socioeconomic status.

Is he right? Let’s find out.

Are Military Members Uneducated?

One way to find an answer is to look at education. Let’s leave aside military officers, who are required to earn a college degree before joining. Presumably, officers are not who you have in mind when wondering about the background and quality of military members. You’re probably thinking about the enlisted troops. These are people who typically join right after high school.

Contrary to popular perceptions, America’s enlisted troops are not poorly educated. In fact, Pew reports[4] that 98 percent of the enlisted force has at least a high school diploma. This is compared with 86.7 percent of the U.S. civilian population aged 25 or older.

The military typically requires a high school diploma to join, with rare exceptions. They have a rule[5] that they cannot consist of more than 10 percent of individuals who have a GED (high school equivalency exam).

But each branch sets their own limits, which is often less than 10 percent. Research has found[6] that people who leave high school early drop out of the military at a higher rate than those who graduate.

One study[7] found that early attrition rates among high school dropouts and those with a GED is 8 percent higher than for high school graduates.

The military spends a lot of money on each recruit. They want each person to serve the duration of their enlistment contract. It is in the military’s best interest to identify characteristics that predict success. One marker is education, which military members do better on than their similarly aged peers.

Military Intelligence

Another way to measure whether military members are dumb is cognitive[8] ability, or IQ.

Some question[9] the idea of using standardized testing to measure intelligence. Others say[10] these tests matter.

The military, universities, and businesses[11] spend vast sums of money researching and designing standardized tests. How do military members stack up against their non-military peers?

All military recruits must take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to qualify for enlistment. The ASVAB is essentially an IQ test[12] (correlation = 0.8). The ASVAB predicts SAT scores (correlation = .82). And it correlates[13] with ACT scores (0.77).

To qualify, recruits must score higher than roughly one-third of all who take the ASVAB. The lowest acceptable percentile score to join is 36 for the Air Force, 35 for the Navy, 32 for the Marine Corps, and 31 for the Army.

By definition, the worst test taker who makes it into the military still scores higher than one-third of his or her peers. The military intentionally slices off the bottom third of test takers, not allowing them to join.

Moral[14] quandaries aside, this means that the military selects for the upper two-thirds of ASVAB test takers. Another study[15] found that among those who finish high school, about 1 in 4 (23%) people do not attain the minimum ASVAB score to join any branch of the military.

There’s also empirical research investigating the influence of intelligence on military success. In one study[16], researchers found that a person’s score on an intelligence test, along with his 2-mile run time, were the best predictors of success in infantry training.

Or take a study about tank gunners[17]. You might not think a standardized intelligence test would have much effect on the ability to shoot straight.

But the data show it does. Replacing a gunner who scores around the 20th percentile with one who scores around the 55th percentile improves the likelihood of hitting a target by 34 percent.

Are They Poor?

There are other differences between military members and their non-military peers. You might think they’re poorer. Isn’t the modern military full of men and women from low-income backgrounds who only join because their options are limited?

For some, this is undoubtedly true (including for yours truly, see here[18]). But generally, it’s a misconception.

In a report titled “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers”[19] from the Heritage Foundation, they found that enlisted military troops disproportionately come from middle class and upper middle class families.

In fact, 50 percent of the enlisted recruits come from families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution, while only 10 percent come from the bottom 20 percent.

Of course, this may be a consequence of lower income individuals not having the means to get the education and testing credentials necessary to join. Still, it overturns the idea that the military is made up of destitute people who have nowhere else to go.

The Lowest of Our Low

Finally, according to the Pentagon[20], 71 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 fail would fail[21] to qualify for military service. The reasons are primarily due to educational, behavioral, criminal, or fitness issues. 

In sum, enlisted military members are better educated, get higher test scores, and come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than their similarly aged peers in society.

Selection effects have a lot to do with these differences. The military recruits young people who are particularly bright and fit. They tend to perform better.

Regardless of such prevalent misconceptions, Americans hold the military in very high esteem. According to Pew[22], Americans view service members as more trustworthy than scientists, elected officials, and the news media.

Follow Rob on Twitter: @robkhenderson[23][24]

References

  1. ^ recent news story (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ Psychology Today looks at education (www.psychologytoday.com)
  3. ^ Psychology Today looks at intelligence (www.psychologytoday.com)
  4. ^ Pew reports (www.pewsocialtrends.org)
  5. ^ They have a rule (www.judsonisd.org)
  6. ^ Research has found (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. ^ One study (www.rand.org)
  8. ^ Psychology Today looks at cognitive (www.psychologytoday.com)
  9. ^ Some question (www.businessinsider.com)
  10. ^ Others say (www.vox.com)
  11. ^ businesses (www.businessinsider.com)
  12. ^ essentially an IQ test (journals.sagepub.com)
  13. ^ correlates (www.iapsych.com)
  14. ^ Psychology Today looks at Moral (www.psychologytoday.com)
  15. ^ Another study (edtrust.org)
  16. ^ In one study (journals.sagepub.com)
  17. ^ a study about tank gunners (journals.sagepub.com)
  18. ^ here (news.yale.edu)
  19. ^ “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers” (www.heritage.org)
  20. ^ according to the Pentagon (www.wsj.com)
  21. ^ would fail (www.usatoday.com)
  22. ^ According to Pew (www.pewforum.org)
  23. ^ Psychology Today looks at Twitter (www.psychologytoday.com)
  24. ^ @robkhenderson (twitter.com)