Friday, June 24, 2005

The Pentagon Marketing Draft

From today's New York Times, an article that might make you gasp written by Damien Cave ("Age 16 to 25? The Pentagon Has Your Number, and More"):

"The Defense Department and a private contractor have been building an extensive database of 30 million 16-to-25-year-olds, combining names with Social Security numbers, grade-point averages, e-mail addresses and phone numbers."

"The department began building the database three years ago, but military officials filed a notice announcing plans for it only last month. That is apparently a violation of the federal Privacy Act, which requires that government agencies accept public comment before new records systems are created."


But, of course, the wingnuts insist that only New York Democrat Congressman Charles Rangel wants a military draft.

So does David S. C. Chu, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness:

"Congress wants to ensure the success of the volunteer force," he said at a reporters' roundtable in Washington. "Congress does not want conscription, the country does not want conscription. If we don't want conscription, you have to give the Department of Defense, the military services, an avenue to contact young people to tell them what is being offered. It would be naïve to believe that in any enterprise, that you are going to do well just by waiting for people to call you."

"The Web site for the Pentagon's Joint Advertising Market Research Studies division, which manages recruiting research and marketing for all four branches of the military, describes the database as "arguably the largest repository of 16-to-25-year-old youth data in the country, containing roughly 30 million records." It is managed by BeNOW Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., a marketing company that uses personal data to concentrate on customers."

"The database includes the names of more than 3.1 million graduating seniors, a list bought by the Pentagon, as well as the names of 4.7 million college students, Pentagon records show. Drawing information from motor vehicle records, Selective Service registrations and private vendors, it includes a variety of personal information, including grades, height, weight and Social Security numbers."

Yep. Nothing to worry about here. It's just a marketing tool.

(NOTE: Special thanks to The Dark Wraith for spending hours to help fix my blog. It's working properly on Internet Explorer...hopefully it'll be back to normal on Firefox, Safari, Opera and everything else.)


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