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Military Recruiters and Programs Target marginalized communities for recruits...
..and the high schools in those same communities

 Militarization of our Schools

The Pentagon is taking over our poorer public schools. This is the reality for disadvantaged youth.


What we can do

Corporate/conservative alliances threaten Democracy . Progressives have an important role to play.

 Why does NNOMY matter?

Most are blind or indifferent to the problem.
A few strive to protect our democracy.

Should Recruiters Own Our Schools?

Pat Elder | Counter-Recruit Press | December 2017

Military’s goal is school ownership; communities push back

Throughout the country military recruiters are increasingly allowed to casually share lunch in high school cafeterias and interact freely with high school youth in hallways and classrooms. Military recruiters are on campus so frequently in many schools that they get to know kids on a first-name basis. They “chill” in the locker room and hang out in the parking lot and they play one-on-one basketball with kids after school. Meanwhile, college recruiters are typically required to meet with students by appointment in the guidance office. It’s not the “same” access called for in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Forget the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt. With vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds, familiarity breeds trust and trust produces enlistment agreements.

The military is secretive concerning the amount of time its recruit- ers and civilian employees spend in the nation’s public schools. Re- searchers must file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to receive empirical evidence documenting the military’s presence. Data from Massachusetts and Connecticut shed light on the extent of their presence in the high schools in these states.

The three most heavily recruited schools in Massachusetts, according to data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Seth Kershner, a researcher and co-author of Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools, are Fitchburg High School, Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, and Springfield Central High School.1

The school has a student population that is 50% minority with 49% of students eligible for the free lunch program. Putnam Vocational (87% minority; 80% free lunch) allowed 102 visits, and Springfield Central High School (78% minority; 57% free lunch) was visited 97 times by Army recruiters. Navy, Marine, and Air Force recruiters also make reg- ular visits to these high school campuses, competing with the Army for the same students.

In March of 2015 the American Friends Service Committee Western Massachusetts Program published “Military Recruitment in Western Massachusetts High Schools.”2 The study reports on the findings of a survey sent to officials in 38 high schools in Western Massachusetts regarding military recruitment. From July 2012 to the winter of 2013, AFSC staff submitted public records requests to all public high schools within the four counties of Western Massachusetts: Hampshire, Hamp- den, Franklin, and Berkshire. Among other questions, the survey asked administrators how often recruiters visit, where they set up, and who (if anyone) supervises them.

From the study:

Many schools do not consistently monitor the presence of recruiters, or the content brought by visiting recruiters. There do not appear to be standards for what recruiters are allowed to do, say, or distribute. Of the thirty-eight schools in Western Massachusetts, most schools (twenty-two) required more than one request for AFSC to receive public information on recruiter policies. Five did not respond until the request was made via certified mail. Even then, three did not respond or rejected our request.

The study awarded schools a letter grade, from A to F. An A meant the school did everything possible to minimize the military’s interaction with students. An F grade meant the school was in violation of the law. A school’s failure to alert parents of their right to opt out merited an automatic F. A failure to respond to the Massachusetts Public Records Act request merited an automatic F unless clarification was obtained through other means. There were 5 A’s, 10 B’s, 11 C’s, 6 D’s, and 6 F’s.

Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy in Springfield re- ceived an F because it failed to respond to four requests. Apparently, Putnam officials didn’t want to share their open-door policy regarding military recruiters. Additionally, 83 students took the ASVAB during the same school year, with all results being forwarded to recruiters without parental consent.3

In Connecticut it’s pretty much the same story. Crosby High School (76% minority, 71% free lunch) was visited 73 times by Army recruit- ers during the 2012 - 2013 school year. On October 18, 2011 the re- cruiter made the following notes, “Great day at Crosby made 36 ap- pointments. A lot of positive staff and kids. We will be conducting all appts this week.”4

At Bloomfield High School, northwest of Hartford (97% minority,
34% free lunch) Army recruiters visited on 62 separate days. Recruit- ers use the JROTC Program as a base within the school. They routinely assist in physical training exercises with the kids.

In September of 2012 the recruiter at Hartford Public High School reported, “I gave a presentation in English class and they had lots of questions... gave a ppt presentation. On the way out met               (re- dacted) and he was interested in having me come in during class and talk about the Middle East at some point in the future.”

Throughout the country non-degreed recruiters befriend supportive teachers to gain access to children. They complement thousands of JROTC instructors, who are typically the only non-degreed, non-certi- fied “teachers” in American classrooms.
Not all schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut are as friendly to the recruiting command as the schools discussed above. Consider the notes the recruiter made regarding his experiences with Classical Magnet School in Hartford on March 12, 2012.

Dropped off request to      (redacted) she stated that their school does not release school lists. When asked about table days and presentations she said, we really don’t do that. trouble school will not release directory info. receives federal funds. also limits ac- cess to recruiters. Forwarding school info to explore possibility of Battalion intervention to release list or begin the Recruiter Access
to High Schools Database Process In accordance with Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2002.

Withholding directory information or disallowing recruiter access may result in a suspension of federal funding to schools. It is the military’s trump card. The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA), the re-written
2015 version of the No Child Left Behind Act, maintains this provision regarding military access to schools.

Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, Virginia provides a typi- cal scenario regarding recruiter visits. Military recruiters are allowed to have lunch in the cafeteria with all of the students in the school. Army recruiters visit on the first and third Thursdays throughout the school year, while Navy recruiters visit on the second Tuesday of every month. Marine and Air Force recruiters also show up for the lunch periods in the cafeteria. Meanwhile, college recruiters are required to make appointments to meet with students in the counseling office.5

According to the Army’s School Recruiting Program Handbook, “The objective of the Army’s school recruiting program is to assist recruiters with programs and services so they can effectively penetrate the school market. The goal is school ownership that can only lead to a greater number of Army enlistments.” 6

The following roles military recruiters perform in thousands of high schools across the country illustrate exactly how the Army is attaining school ownership:


•    Football conditioning coach

•    Career Day Counselor

•    Interactive recruiting vans with simulators

•    Presentations to the Student Government

•    Presentations to the PTA

•    Presentations to the School Board

•    Training the school color guard

•    Facilitating flag raising/Pledge of Allegiance

•    Helping with school registration

•    Regularly delivering donuts to faculty meetings

•    Placing advertisements in the student newspaper

•    Assuming a leading role in the homecoming parade

•    Chaperoning at homecoming dance and other dances throughout the year

•    Regular presentations to history and government classes

•    Basketball conditioning coach

•    Coin toss at football games

•    Attendance at all home football games

•    Halftime football ceremonies

•    Timekeeper

•    Recruiter v. Faculty basketball games

•    Track and Field Assistant

•    Baseball assistant coach

•    On stage at graduation

Ironically, the Army has developed an anti-bullying campaign to fur- ther “penetrate” the middle and high school “markets.” The issue of bullying has captured an extraordinary amount of attention nationwide, while the nation has witnessed a proliferation of anti-bullying programs in schools. The Army has produced a video, Be a leader against bul- lying, that provides additional license for recruiters to be on campus. Consider this piece, “Army Recruiter Works to Prevent Bullying,” that appeared on the Army’s homepage in 2013:
The Army’s Anti-Bullying Campaign is making an impact one fam- ily, one school and one community at a time. Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Athy of the Asheville, North Carolina Recruiting Center discov- ered his own daughter was being picked on and bullied for being overweight after he had an at-home viewing and discussion of the anti-bullying campaign video with his family.

“As a father it broke my heart that this was going on and I couldn’t protect my daughter,” said Athy. Then his son began asking ques- tions, as well, after a student at his middle school committed suicide

because of bullying. “After that, I thought I have to find a way to help and maybe even change some things,” said Athy. He intro- duced members of the Buncombe County Board of Education to the Army’s campaign explaining how he wanted to help and was welcomed with open arms.

Athy conducted anti-bullying presentations at four schools this past school year and plans to conduct presentations in all of the area middle and high schools in the coming school year.” 7
From the Army’s perspective, it’s a win-win situation. The video is professionally produced and does a good job framing the issue, while re- cruiters gain access to the entire student body. Realizing the public rela- tions bonanza, the Army has commissioned interactive tractor trailers to crisscross the country showing the anti-bullying video in a mobile theatre to the middle and high school crowd. The Army’s website says the mas- sive trucks require four recruiters to provide “support assistance”.8

Army Recruiting Van  - U.S. Army Mission Support Battalion  BY ARMAND PEREZ, DEFENSE VIDEO IMAGERY DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

The Pentagon puts up a great front. In fact, though, the DOD has the worst record of all American institutions regarding the acceptance of violence within its ranks. Assault and bullying in the military occur at alarming rates. Rather than making revolutionary changes to radically alter chronic abuse in the chain of command, the Pentagon relies on sophisticated marketing campaigns to make it all go away—at least in the public’s eye. Their anti-bullying campaign kills two pesky birds with one stone.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) addressed the Senate in 2014 re- garding violence in the chain of command. Gillibrand has also led the fight in Congress to remove sexual assault cases from military juris- diction.

She hit upon the term toxic leadership in the Army’s own materials, and described it as a main cause of bullying and suicides in the mili- tary. According to Army Doctrine Publication 6-22 (September, 2012), “The toxic leader operates with an inflated sense of self-worth and from acute self-interest. Toxic leaders consistently use dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce, or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves.”9
  According to Col. George Reed, former director of Command and Leadership Studies at the War College, 20% of the American military force is victimized by toxic leadership, intimidating, hostile, aggres- sive, and frightening behavior directed by officers toward enlisted sol- diers.10 The officers call it “smoking” a soldier. This behavior is a con- tributing factor in the skyrocketing number of suicides in the military.
The Army knows a lot about bullying.

Troops to Teachers

The DOD established Troops to Teachers (TTT) in 1994. Today it is funded by the U.S. Department of Education but run by the DOD through Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), in Pensacola, Florida.

DANTES has established a network of state TTT offices to provide separating soldiers with counseling and assistance regarding certifica- tion requirements, routes to state certification, and employment leads. The TTT homepage provides information and resource links, including links to state departments of education, state certification offices, and other job listing sites in public education.

Troops to Teachers candidates must meet all state teacher certification requirements for the state where they desire to teach, although ev- ery state has implemented alternative licensing programs that make it a lot easier for soldiers and others to begin immediately teaching while licensure without a bachelor’s degree is worked out over the course of several years.

Some states, like Texas, make it relatively easy for non-degreed soldiers to find work as teachers. Soldiers often leave the military with skills in areas where the high schools offer technical education to their students. In Texas and elsewhere, the process for certification in a tech- nical field like shop or auto mechanics is distinct from standard subject area certification and may be accomplished without a bachelor’s degree.

Separating soldiers in Texas are instructed through the Troops to Teachers program to contact an authorized state college or university, like the Wayland Baptist University, which offers an On-Line Certifica- tion Program, to evaluate their experience as a first step in applying to teach in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs throughout the state. The soldier files his DD 214 discharge papers and completes the Texas Education Agency Statement of Qualifications form detailing his or her military technical experience.

Once the  educational brokers  evaluate the  documentation, they issue a deficiency plan, which details the courses that a soldier must eventually take to complete certification. The plan often involves up to 18 semester hours of CTE courses, plus a course in the US/Texas Constitution or government. Depending on how many credits are required, soldiers are given between one and three years to complete course work.11

When the deficiency plan is created, departing soldiers may apply to school districts to teach with full pay and benefits on a probationary certificate for up to three years.  Before certification is authorized, the veteran must pass the applicable Texas Examination of Education Stan- dards (TExES).

Troops to Teachers provides a pipeline of high school-educated soldiers who fill technical teaching jobs in high schools across the country.

Eligible military veterans may receive a federally funded stipend of up to $5,000 to help them pay for state teacher certification and a one-time bonus of up to $10,000 for agreeing to teach in a high-poverty school. The stipend and bonus combined cannot exceed a total of $10,000.

In the Houston Independent School District (ISD), the largest school district in Texas, TTT members may pursue certifications in areas such as welding, automotive technicians, diesel mechanics, cu- linary arts, and many more. In fact, there are 153 skills in Houston ISD that Service members could qualify to teach using their military experience.12

Army propagandists are quick to note the beneficial impact TTT has on recruiting. According to a 2014 story, “Troops to Teachers program offers post-Army careers” on, the official homepage of the U.S. Army, Troops to Teachers helps the Army “because it puts people into the classrooms that are going to be preparing future Sol- diers for service.”

The piece continues:

Today, discipline in the classroom comes into question, and that’s where their military training comes into play. Army values really help create people that would be wonderful teachers. And Soldiers can instill the Army values into their students and can be great role models along with appropriate disciplinarians.13

Some of these Army values will have to change to be successful in the classroom. Perhaps the “mission” in the Army is clearly defined, but it won’t be so cut and dry in a high-poverty area 9th grade class- room where some students won’t take orders.

Great teachers don’t rely on fear and discipline. Soldier/teachers will be forced to ignore the Soldier’s Creed and admit defeat, often daily. They may be professional soldiers but they aren’t profession- al teachers. Their “proficiency in warrior tasks” and drills won’t help them in classes with a dozen students carrying Individualized Educa- tional Plans. Can these battle-tested soldiers cope with children on the Asperger’s scale, with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and with undiagnosed anxiety disorders? This is the reality in many Amer- ican classrooms today.

Are these soldiers willing and able to devise diversified classroom instructional plans while being mindful of strategies to employ with divergent learners? Will they devise several plans for one lesson that reach children with different learning styles such as visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic or logical, to name a few?

Saltman and Gabbard, in the introduction to their edited book, Education as Enforcement - The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools, put the TTT program into perspective, referring to it as part of military education, Military education refers to explicit efforts to expand and legitimate military training in public schooling. These sorts of programs are exemplified by JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs, the Troops to Teachers program that places retired soldiers in schools, the trend of military generals hired as school superintendents or CEOs, the uniform movement, the Lockheed Martin corporation’s public school in Georgia, and the army’s development of the biggest online education program in the world as a recruiting inducement. 14

 It is alarming to witness the rapid proliferation of programs that contribute to the militarization of American youth.
 Col. John Box, Commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting 3rd Brigade, wrote a revealing article that provides a glimpse into the mentality of the recruiting command. The piece pits the recruiters against youth in a demented kind of surveillance-based guerilla warfare scenario. The disturbing commentary, “A guide to intelligence driven prospecting,” dated December 18, 2013, appeared on the Army’s homepage, www. In Box’s military mind the high schools provide the brick and mortar where the “enemy or target” is confined to meet the “challenge of the counterinsurgency fight.”1

Box’s analogy is particularly chilling now that the Pentagon allows recruiters to carry loaded and concealed automatic weapons into the schools. You’d have to be familiar with a boatload of acronyms to decode the colonel’s message. These acronyms all appear in Box’s 1,100-word piece, which is meant for public consumption:

  FOB Forward Operations Base
  IPB Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield
  SUR Small Unit Recruiting
  ET Engagement Team
  RST  Recruiting Support Team
  FSL Future Soldier Leader
  CC  Center Commander
  ACC Assistant Center Commander
  OPS Operations
  NCOC Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge
  S2  Intelligence
  AAR After Action Review
  TPU’s Troop Program Units
  HPTL High Payoff Target List
  3-01 Recruiting Manual
  3-06 Recruiting Manual
  APL Automated Processing List
  SASVB Student Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
  TNEL Tested Not Enlisted List
  ALRL  Automated Lead Refinement List (from the high schools)
  SUR  Surveillance

Sample a taste of recruiting brigade culture from Box’s piece.

The RST’s role is to process applicants after handoff has occurred from the CC, ET, or FSL. Similar to the roles of an S2 in any maneuver unit using IPB, the RST considers market intelligence, prospecting analysis, and creates a high payoff target list (HPTL) for the CC, ET, and FSL. This HPTL is created from the automated processing list (APL), Student Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (SASVAB) test list, tested not enlisted (TNE) list, or the National Advertising (ADHQ) leads when formulating prospecting plans for the ET, CC, and FSL.
Colonel Box treats teenagers and the local high school like the enemy
on a battlefield. He writes,

In the 3rd brigade we, The Marauders, use an operational mindset and treat every recruiting center like a forward operations base (FOB). In the operational Army, a Soldier would never engage the enemy or a target without having the proper intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and target information prior to departing the FOB; so why should our recruiters be any different?

To answer the colonel’s question, recruiters should be different because they operate in our home towns and their prospects are our children. They’re tender and they’re vulnerable, and although they often think otherwise, the kids don’t know much about the world.

An American community is not a battlefield, although understandable public resentment in some schools and towns may make it seem that way to the colonel.


The brigade commander’s battlefield analogy continues,

Just as Soldiers in a combat environment have to change, adapt and become more innovative, we must do the same in Recruiting Command. A key challenge of the counterinsurgency fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan are reflected in Sun Tzu’s adage that the enemy “Swims in the sea of the people.” I would offer that our prospects swim in the sea of high schools, colleges, and the communities at large.

While Box’s troops are pinning down the “enemy” in our schools they’re also involved in a kind of virtual counterinsurgency. The command realizes kids are glued to their smartphones, so they’ve created an impressive, virtual presence. Recruiters lurk on social media sites to determine where youth might congregate over the weekend. Is it the parking lot behind Appleby’s? Is it the food court at the mall, or is everyone heading to the pond to ice skate?

Recruiters also pose online as potential recruits sharing their frustrations or asking for advice regarding the military’s entrance exam, the ASVAB. They try to drum up interest in the test, which is offered at
12,000 high schools across the country. The Army requires a minimum test score of 31 to qualify for enlistment. (See the chapter on ASVAB Testing.) Although it’s tough to gauge, a 31 on the ASVAB is roughly equivalent to low 8th grade level, if that. A score of 17 translates to functional illiteracy, perhaps a 2nd to 4th grade level. The item below was posted by “Leticia.” Leticia only capitalizes half of her I’s and never uses an apostrophe. Other than that, her grammar and spelling are stellar, suggesting a much higher level than a 17 for the writer.


ASVAB HELP! NEED TO SCORE A 50 but i got a 17 :(?Okay, so i got a 17 on my ASVAB score. What can i do to improve? I need a 50 or higher. I can retake in one month. School ends in two weeks and ill have enough time to study. PLEASE HELP ME OUT! I real- ly am interested in this. Im working really hard for it. I dont want to give up. How can i aim for that 50 or higher? I dont understand how i got a 17.16

There are thousands of posts like this in dozens of chat rooms. They’re written by deceptive, sucker-punching recruiters looking for their next lead.

Here’s an obvious one:

Im a category 4 asvab wavier for the marines how will this effect my career am i in for horrible time or will i be ok im not nerves of leaven?

Best Answer: once your in the marines, your asvab score doesn’t matter it will effect what mos you can do when you enlist and it will effect trying to get into things like recon in the future but other than that, no one ever looks at your asvab score

Henry: Marines aren’t taking people below a 50 last I heard.

Wine Wine: U Dirty Skunk: No way! Someone with your obvious mastery of the written language a CAT IV?!?! Get out of here.17
CAT IV means a potential recruit scored between 10 and 30 on the AFQT, the Armed Forces Qualification Test. Recruits must score at least a 32 to join the Marine Corps. A few exceptions are created for extraordinarily talented recruits that have exceptional skills. This post is very likely engineered by the recruiting command to give hope to the lowest echelon of recruits, if they can read it.


The “Best Answer” is likely from the same recruiter and is posted to reassure academically challenged potential recruits. The responses by Henry and Wine are obviously not sanctioned by the military entrance processing command.

Here’s another:


I saw a job ad for a “linguist” on and it was for the U.S military. I’m an interpreter already and always looking for new work. I signed up and got an interview. I had NO IDEA, what to ex- pect. I was just looking for more work. I got there, and was blown away. First off, they had me take the ASVAB which I was NOT pre- pared for. I didn’t think I would ACTUALLY be joining the military if I was gonna work as an interpreter for them. So I took the test, I had no idea what to expect, I thought it was gonna be really easy.

I didn’t think I had an issue on the language portion (English and Reading Comprehension) but I hadn’t taken a math class for four years and it’s always been my toughest subject, and I am AWFUL at problem solving, I was never good at it, so I’m pretty sure that had a lot to do with my low score. Does a 26 practically mean I could be mildly retarded? 18


What we see here is a tendency to suggest that jobs requiring advanced degrees might be within the realm of possibility for someone who op- erates at an elementary school level. Imposters say they’re struggling to score a 31 and are looking for high paying jobs. Readers can dream of being all they can be, but infantry is typically the reality for enlistees who barely score a 31.

The military is still largely an archaic institution, a throwback to the 19th century with an antiquated, authoritarian structure and mind- set. Sometimes, however, it can be surprisingly forthright. Sometimes, though rarely, it demonstrates the honesty and transparency that are appropriate for a responsive governmental institution in a 21st century democratic republic. A case in point is an article by Lance Corporal David Flynn, “A Snapshot of a Recruiter’s World,” which appeared in Marine Corps News in June of 2011.19 Flynn tracks Staff Sgt. Michael Hauck, Recruiting Station Baltimore, as he makes the rounds between two Maryland high schools, I go to Duval High School every Thursday and Friday,” said Hauck. “On Monday and Tuesday I go to Bowie High School. I spend so much time at the schools that they’ve given me offices at both where I can meet with students.” Hauck tutors students on the ASV- AB in his offices.

It’s not uncommon for recruiters to have offices in schools across the country. They’re often regarded as supplemental guidance counselors, although most are staff sergeants with little or no college. JROTC in- structors teach credited courses without degrees.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) urges guid- ance counselors to steer “at risk” youth toward the Army’s “Planning for Life” (PFL) program, ostensibly designed to help students further their education and plan for life. The ASCA claims “at-risk” youth re- ceive motivational messages and tools to strengthen “mind, body and soul” during half-day workshops co-hosted by the Army and commu- nity groups.20

The article on the Maryland recruiter describes how Staff Sgt. Hauck brought Duval history teacher Brent Sullivan to Parris Island earlier that year to attend the Educators Workshop and experience re- cruit training first hand. Each year, from October through May, Marine Corps recruiters invite high school educators, counselors, coaches, and other influencers to visit Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. There, they witness firsthand the Marine Corps’ recruit-training program.21 Teachers get to shoot weapons and pretend to be a recruit. They even get yelled at by drill instructors. “We’re an all-recruited force,” said Hauck. “Of course we all volunteered, but someone had to find those volunteers.”

Is it a recruited force or a volunteer force?  Is it fair to say impressionable teens “volunteer” for military service when so much institu- tional coercion is involved?

The access military recruiters enjoy on a given high school campus is largely determined by the principal. If the principals of Bowie and Duval high schools in Maryland didn’t want recruiters to use office space to regularly prepare youth for the military’s enlistment test, that would be the end of it. Although the military is chipping away at its goal of school ownership, local communities are legally empowered to exercise day-to-day control over their schools.

The office of a public high school principal occupies a unique position in American society. A retired U.S. Marine Commander and a pacifist Quaker may be principals in neighboring high schools under the nominal jurisdiction of a school board, each exercising a remark- able degree of autonomy. There are few institutions in America where one individual exerts such direct, unfettered control over the daily lives of so many.

As we’ve seen, the access granted to military recruiters on high school campuses is a function of the culture of an individual school, but it is also determined by the geographical region of the country and the particular recruiting brigade and battalion.

The relatively progressive New England states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont have military enlistment rates of 1.48, 1.26, 1.43, and 1.63 recruits respectively per 1,000 youth aged 18-24. Meanwhile, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama have rates of 3.45, 3.46, 3.25, and 3.15.22 It’s not a shocker that young men and women from states of the old confederacy are twice as likely to join the military as youth from New England states. Gen- erally, southern states appear most likely to have an open-door policy regarding military recruiters, followed by schools from the Midwest, West, and Northeast. Of the top 10 states that select ASVAB Option 8 to protect student privacy (See the Chapter on Military Testing) five are from the Northeast and the rest are from the West, with the exception of Minnesota and Nebraska, where robust citizen activism has pressured school authorities to take steps to seek parental consent when children are tested by the recruiting command.

We also see variations in the ASVAB data that correlate closely to the high schools covered by particular Recruiting Brigades. High schools in the 3rd Recruiting Brigade in Fort Knox, Kentucky, which encompasses Recruiting Battalions in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Great Lakes, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Nashville, are much more likely to require ASVAB testing than schools in the 1st Recruiting Brigade, headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland, which recruits from high schools in the Northeast.

To put this discussion into context, consider the rebellious, obsti- nate, contrarian 17- year-old who is not getting along with his parents, who are frightened by his stated intentions to join the military. Consid- er the recruiting command that gathers a virtual portrait of the youth for its targeted, sophisticated pitch and consider the school that allows recruiters to “chill” with students in the cafeteria during lunch.

In addition to the presence of military recruiters in our schools, the military also manages to “penetrate the school market” through the following DOD-supported programs operating in the nation’s public schools:


  •    4-H Tech Wizards
•    Adopt a School Program
•    Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
•    Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program
•    Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
•    Army Educational Outreach Program
•    Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, Battlefrog
•    Building Engineering and Science Talent
•    Camp Invention
•    Career Exploration Program
•    Civil Air Patrol
•    Civilian Marksmanship Program
•    Computers for Learning Program
•    Cyberpatriot
•    ECybermission
•    Expanding Your Horizons
•    FIRST Lego
•    FIRST Robotics Competition
•    FIRST Tech Challenge
•    Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science
•    Internship Programs for High School Students through the Army Educational Outreach Program
•    Iridescent
•    Junior First Lego League
•    Junior Science and Humanities Symposia Program
•    Junior Solar Sprint
•    March to Success
•    Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
•    Mathcounts
•    Math Video Challenge
•    Mobile Discovery Center
•    National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program
•    Naval High School Science Awards Program
•    Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
•    Navy Seal Fitness Challenge (Archived)
•    Navy STEM
•    Project Partnership for All Students’ Success
•    Remotely Operated Vehicle Program
•    Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program
•    School Challenge
•    Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program, SEAP
•    Sea Perch
•    Starbase Program
•    Students Taking Active Roles
•    Summer Engineering Experience for Kids
•    Ten80 Education
•    US First Robotics
•    US Navy Music for Recruiting Program
•    UNITE
•    U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar/ Athlete Award Program
•    U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps
•    We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution
•    West Point Bridge Design Contest
•    Young Marines

Counter-recruiters have legal rights to access schools

Rick Jahnkow with the Project on Youth & Military Opportunities (Project YANO) is widely regarded as the ultimate source for a range of counter-recruitment issues, particularly the access activists have to the nation’s high schools to counter the message of recruiters.

In Jahnkow’s words:

For anyone who might be seeking school access, it’s useful to know that there are solid legal arguments in favor of allowing groups to disseminate negative factual information on military enlistment
in schools. While it would not be wise to litigate the issue in the current judicial climate—with a very conservative, pro-military Supreme Court—it’s good to know what the lower courts have said on the topic so we can thoughtfully bring it up when necessary.

Jahnkow outlines a host of lower court rulings, including the 9th Circuit
Appellate Court’s decision, which says,

“[I]t has long been recognized that the subject of military service is controversial and political in nature.” The court went on to say that if a school has created a forum for advocates of military service,
“the Board cannot allow the presentation of one side of an issue, but prohibit the presentation of the other side.” (San Diego CARD v. Grossmont Union H.S. District, 1986)

These rulings make it clear that along with presenting positive alternatives to the military in schools, counter-recruitment groups have a legal right to present negative facts to help students fully evaluate the military as a career option.23

Notes – Chapter 4

1. Data received through a Freedom of Information Act Request; Database documenting U.S.Army recruiter visits to Massachusetts schools in the Springfield Company from October 1,2012 to September 30, 2013. USAREC Albany Recruiting Battalion.
2. Military Recruitment in Western Massachusetts High Schools. (2015, March 1). RetrievedAugust 8, 2015, from
3. The state data was created from the national database received on December 18, 2013 from Yasmeen Hargis, FOIA Analyst For Suzanne Council, Senior Advisor on behalf of Paul J. Jacobsmeyer, Chief, Freedom of Information Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff FOIA Request Service Center 1155 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1155.
4. FOIA Data
5. “Robert E. Lee High School.” School Counseling Home / Military Recruiters. Staunton, VA Public Schools. Web. 20 July 2015.
6. 1-4 (c) USAREC Pamphlet 350-13 School Recruiting Program Handbook Headquarters, United States Army Recruiting Command September 1, 2004 army_recruiter_hdbk.pdf.
7. Garcia, V. (2013, August 1). ARMY.MIL, The Official Homepage of the United StatesArmy. Retrieved August 11, 2015, from < >
8. Mobile Exhibit Company’s Interactive Semis. (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2015, from
9. ADP 622 - Army Leadership. (2012, August 1). Retrieved December 24, 2015, from
10. Zwerdling, D. (2014, January 6). Army Takes On Its Own Toxic Leaders. Retrieved Au- gust 11, 2015, from
11. Troops to Teachers Proud to Serve Again.” Texas Troops to Teachers. Web. 07 Mar. 2016. (Archived).
12. Nenetsky, Dr. Christene. “Texas TTT Partners with Houston School District.” Military. com. 4 Aug. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.
13. Martin, Sarah. “Troops to Teachers program offers post-Army careers.”
7 April. 2014. Web 07 Mar. 2016
14. Saltman, Kenneth J. and Gabbard, David A. “Education as Enforcement: The Militariza- tion and Corporatization of Schools.” Routledge, 2011 – 320 pages
15. Box, Col. John. “ARMY.MIL, The Official Homepage of the United States Army.” AGuide to Intelligence Driven Prospecting. The United States Army, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 20July 2015.
16. “ASVAB HELP! NEED TO SCORE A 50 but I Got a 17 :(?” Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo!,2013. Web. 20 July 2015.
17. “Im a category 4 asvab wavier” Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo! 2016. Web. 22 April 2016,
18. I got a 26 on my ASVAB? Yahoo Answers. Yahoo! 2013. Web. 20 July 2015
19. David Flynn, Lance Corporal. “Marine Corps Recruiting Command.” A Snapshot of aRecruiter’s World News Article Display. The United States Marine Corps, 30 June 2011. Web.
20 July 2015.
20. Dahir, Carol, E.D. Planning for Life: Developing and Recognizing Exemplary Career Planning Programs. A Resource Guide for Counselors. American School Counselor Associa- tion, Alexandria, VA. Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, KY. 2001-00-00 72 p.
21. “4th Marine Corps District.” Resources Educator Resources. United States Marine Corps. Web. 20 July 2015.
22. “Military Recruitment 2010.” National Priorities Project. 30 June 2011. Web. 21 July 2015.
23. Jahnkow, R. (2011, April 30). Antiwar group claims message stifled. Retrieved December
29, 2015, from

Pat Elder is the director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, an organization that works to prohibit the automatic release of student information to military recruiting services from the nation's high schools. He is also creator of the website, which documents the deceptive practices used by the US military to recruit students into the armed forces.

 Revised 01/30/2022



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