U.S. Army Isn't Broken After All, Military Experts Say

Discussion in '2008 Archive' started by Revmitchell, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    ...According to Army statistics obtained exclusively by FOX News, 70 percent of soldiers eligible to re-enlist in 2006 did so — a re-enlistment rate higher than before Sept. 11, 2001. For the past 10 years, the enlisted retention rates of the Army have exceeded 100 percent. As of last Nov. 13, Army re-enlistment was 137 percent of its stated goal....

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,339296,00.html
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    This is an example of media muddle and fuzzy logic ..........

    There is a difference between a 100% retention rate and achieving 137% of a goal. This quote you gave is grossly misleading. In one sentence it says that the "Army retention rates of the Army have exceeded 100 percent." This is mathematically and statistically impossible. Then the quote goes on to say that "re-enlistment was 137 percent of its stated goal...." This is possible, but gives no meaningful information as we do not know what the goal was. If the goal is to re-enlist 2% of those finishing their enlistment period then it means little. If the goal is to re-enlist 80% it has much more meaning.

    I have tended to never take a statistic seriously since I read the little book, You Can Lie With Statistics way back when I was in college.

    :BangHead:
     
  3. targus

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    Poorly worded - yes. But the numbers are there to tell the story.

    70% re-enlisted - this is 137% of the goal - therefore the goal was approximately 51% (most likely 50%)
     
  4. Crabtownboy

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    That is true of the goal. However the way it is worded in the sentences above make it appear like over 100% of all soldiers re-enlisted and that is impossible. Thus it really is a poorly written piece. Whether on purpose or not I do not know. However considering the source I expect it was aimed at confusing, or misinterprteation.:BangHead:
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    How does "70%" re-enlist appear that 100% re-enlist?:BangHead:
     
  6. Crabtownboy

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    This is a sentence from the article and it is mathematically impossible for it to be correct. Either the author is not mathematically inclined, or was sloppy, or was trying to mislead. Hard to tell which. But an editor should have caught this error. Such sloppy writing creates a credibility problem for the entire organization.


    And notice that Fox did not metioned forced re-enlistments. Factor those out and the situation may not look so good.

    From MSNBC:

    The U.S. Army will continue to rely on an unpopular program that forces some soldiers to stay on beyond their retirement or re-enlistment dates, despite repeated pressure from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to reduce and eventually eliminate the practice.

    Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, deputy chief of staff for personnel, said Thursday that the number of soldiers kept on duty has actually increased in recent months as a result of President Bush's orders to increase troop levels in Iraq this year to help quell the violence.

    :BangHead:
     
    #6 Crabtownboy, Mar 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2008
  7. Magnetic Poles

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    Simply. If the goal is for 70% to re-enlist, and 70% do so, then 100% of the GOAL has been met. You don't really think that 100% of personnel re-enlist, do you? Poorly written story, but this is from Fox Noise.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Exactly!:thumbs:
     
  9. Crabtownboy

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    Rev, no one is arguing that statement is not true. It is the other sloppy writing and poor math that is being pointed out. Also what is not said, i.e. about forced re-enlistments, that create a big credibility gap in this article. :tonofbricks:
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    You can't force someone to re-enlist. If you are speaking to extending the length of service for some of those in Iraq well this extionsion practice has been going on even in timese where there is no conflict.
     
  11. Crabtownboy

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    That, even the Army, calls Forced Re-enlist. And regardless that still does not make the statistically impossible statement true.

    Let's make it simple. If you have 100 people up for re-enlistment you cannot have 137 re-enlist. You cannot have more people re-enlist than are available or due to re-enlist or get out of the service. Math 101 .............. or even "bonehead math" will teach that. The writer was either sloppy or not too swift ... as was the editor. Thus everything written in the article has a credibility problem. If they are that sloppy in one area how can we trust their accuracy in other areas?:tonofbricks:
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    Your bias is interfering with you ability to comprehend the article:


    You used the figure "137" as a hard number. However the author did not. You took her figure out of context. If you will look the "137" figure was used in the context of percentages. The idea being promoted in the article is that re-enlistment rates far exceed what they planned for. It seems the crediblity of your analysis of the article is what is in question here.
     
  13. Crabtownboy

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    The "137" I used I simply pulled out of the air to illustrate that if 100 people are up for re-enlistment than the most that can re-enlist is 100. So let's change the number ... 100 up for re-enlistment, so 101 cannot re-enlist. The sentence in the article says more than 100% re-enlisted and that is impossible on the number of men ... it is not impossible on the goal unless the goal was a 100% re-enlistment of men/women up for re-enlistment.

    I am not arguing that they did not meet their goal. Gee, if their goal had been a 10% re-enlistment what a seeminglyremarkable statistical over the goal re-enlistment that would be.

    When reporting reporters should be clear. A mistake like this one in the company I worked for could have cost the writer his/her job. However a mistake like that would never have gotten through the review cycle and past the editors. :tonofbricks:
     
    #13 Crabtownboy, Mar 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2008
  14. Revmitchell

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    And the last sentence of that parpagraph sets the context:

     

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