by Jack Minor –
The military is preparing to reduce troop strength by nearly 500,000 at a time when unemployment by young veterans is over 13 percent.
Recent data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for the last quarter of 2011, joblessness among young veterans 18-24 years old was 1 in 3; double the rate of their civilian counterparts. The numbers are an increase from the last quarter of 2010 which was 1 in 5. The overall unemployment rate for these veterans was in December was 13.1 percent.
Paul Conway, president of Generation Opportunity, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor, and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), said the numbers should be a cause of concern for every American.
“When young veterans – highly trained and tested professionals with a proven ability to learn quickly, operate on a team, and produce results – are unable to find real opportunities in the job market, it speaks to the poor state of our economy,” Conway said. “The root of the problem clearly does not rest with the American veteran – the issue is the faltering economy and leadership in Washington that is committed to higher regulations and job killing taxes that inhibit ingenuity and business expansion, limiting opportunities for all Americans.”
The numbers are particularly alarming at a time when the Pentagon is considering plans to cut the military by close to 500,000 troops.
With record high unemployment that officials say is just now starting to go down, it is unclear what will happen as the veterans cut from the service begin to re-enter the workforce.
The troop reductions come as the Pentagon is grappling with budget cuts of between $480 billion to $ 1 trillion. While the specifics of the cuts have not yet been specified, it has been said the cuts are likely to involve a reduction of close to 500,000 troops out of a total force of 1.6 million.
Indications are going forward the military services will have to share responsibility to a greater extent and rely more heavily on drones.