News reports in the last few days indicate that branches of the U. S. military continue to experience difficulties in achieving recruiting goals. The obvious challenge is to find individuals willing to risk life and limb and endure long periods of separation from friends and family performing work unacceptable to the vast majority of the public for very low wages.
In fact, a source of personnel with these very characteristics already exists — illegal immigrants.
Before rejecting this suggestion outright, it should be noted that just such an idea was included in a May 8 New York Times article (which, by the way, is a huge blow to any attempt to satirize the topic.) This article was sketchy on details regarding implementation, however.
I would propose assigning military recruiters to work with U. S. Border Patrol agents. This reallocation of manpower should increase the effectiveness of border security operations while also ensuring that the Defense Department would have first crack at enlisting these individuals in one of the services. It would seem that the opportunity for steady work combined with an offer of citizenship upon honorable discharge would be a powerful incentive to join the Army or Marines, particularly if the alternative is to be returned to the country of origin.
There are likely some who would object to the fairness of utilizing such an offer to entice undocumented aliens to protect Americans who are themselves unwilling to serve. I suspect that those objections will diminish significantly if the alternative is the reinstitution of the draft.
Concerns might also be raised regarding the wisdom of taking on the responsibility of building an effective fighting force of non-English speaking foreign nationals. In fact, that is exactly what the United States is attempting in Iraq. It would be a shame to waste the knowledge and skills gained in this endeavor when they could be applied to meet such an urgent problem.