Alternatives to Military Service

Talking Points for Parents

You know your children best. It is you who are best suited to gauge your child’s level of information about relevant military issues, their current concerns, and their ability to absorb information.  This handout is an introduction to some facts about recruiting that you and your children may not receive from schools or recruiters.   It gives you a way to start learning about military matters that potentially may affect your kids. You can be their resource for information that will help to protect and inform them.

  Just The Facts:

Recruiting Strategies:

***The military is not an educational institution, nor is it a social program for character development. The military is charged simply with preparing for and waging war.

*** The military is not bound by any guarantees to the enlistee, even if they are offered in a written contract. The military can change one's job field, pay status, or educational benefits at any time, for any reason, without prior notice.

***Recruiters earn money by signing up young people for the military.  The primary need right now is “boots on the ground” in combat and more and more of the support functions requiring technical training are being contracted out to private companies.  The military recruiting budget is 2.7 billion dollars per year, equal to approximately 10% of total Federal funding for public K-12 schools.

***The Army is 40% behind in their recruitment quotas for 2005 resulting in extreme pressure on recruiters to sign your children up.  As a consequence of 480 complaints received from January to May 2005 about improper conduct by recruiters, the Army called their first ever  national stand down on May 20, 2005 to examine problems ranging from recruiter lies about benefits and jobs to threats of prison time for not keeping appointments to covering up drug use of potential enlistees.

***You have probably seen many young people, especially juniors and seniors in High School, who become overwhelmed by the choices and pressures regarding employment and education after High School.  This makes them especially vulnerable to military recruiting at a time when their decision making processes may not have matured or may be impaired by stress.  They need all the facts about both opportunities and risks available to them.


Privacy Rights and No Child Left Behind:

*** No Child Left Behind Act has a provision (NCLB, § 9528.a.1 )  that requires public high schools to hand over private student information to military recruiters.  Juniors and seniors routinely receive telephone calls, mailings, and surprise visits by recruiters who use school records to gain access.

***However NCLB also provides that Parents and students have the right to protect their privacy by opting out of releasing school records to military recruiters.  See Opt Out Form for more details.

***The responsibility to notify parents of Opt Out rights lies with the local school districts.  Alachua County is providing a letter home in the Fall and information in the Student handbook on privacy rights.  The Opt out Form in Alachua must be turned in By September 30th.

  More information Sources on NCLB Act:

Family Privacy Campaign – Leave My Child Alone

In Harms Way – How the Military markets enlistment

More threats to privacy:

***ASVAB Exam routinely given in High School releases student information to recuiters.
If you take the exam, be sure to select option 8 to prevent this!

***The Pentagon Database seeks to make an end-run the Privacy Act, which requires notification and public comment whenever new data is being compiled on individuals by any branch of government.
To opt out of this list see the Leave My Child Alone website Pentagon opt out

Education and training Benefits from Military Service:

*** While your children are exposed to military recruiting at their schools, sometimes on a daily basis, they may not be aware of all the alternative career opportunities for education, training, travel, and community service available to civilians.  There are website links at the end of this publication that can help them access that information.

***According to the US Veterans Administration, only 35% of veterans receive GI Bill funds for college and training, while 70% of students who apply for civilian financial aid (Pell grants and Stafford loans) receive help paying for college and job training. All first Year recruits have 1200$ deducted from their pay towards the GI Bill, but 65% never get to use that money for their education and there is no refund.

*** Mangum and Ball, Ohio State researchers, who received funding from the military, found that only 12% of male veterans and 6% of female veterans surveyed made any use of skills learned in the military in their civilian jobs.

*** Prominent labor policy specialist Stephen Barley found that the average recent

Veteran will earn between 11% and 19% less than non-veterans from comparable socioeconomic backgrounds

***Civilian Job and educational opportunities include Apprentice programs at local community colleges, Americorps and Jobcorp, Bright futures Scholarships for both academics and vocational training, scholarship databases like fasteweb with hundreds of thousands of scholarship opportunities and much more.


More information on Civilian opportunities:

Alternatives to Military Service for Education, Jobs, Training and Travel



Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP):

***Today, nearly all military recruits sign a delayed entry contract. By signing this, recruits promise to report on a specific date (up to a year) in the future, at which time one's term of active service begins. DEP is often particularly attractive to high school seniors who are unsure about what to do after graduation. A lot can happen in a year, and many young people change their minds.  Although recruiters may suggest that backing out of one's DEP contract is illegal or impossible, the military presently releases all DEP recruits who request separation. Recruits may cancel their contract by sending a letter requesting separation to their local recruiting command – the address for which can be found in one's local phone book under US Government.

*** As Long as the DEP recruit does not report for training at the end of their Delay period they will not officially become a member of the military, subject to Military Law.


This information was compiled by your
local GI Rights Hotline. We provide information and support for Military personnel and their Families in North Central Florida and are a branch of the National GI Rights Hotline