Via Myglesias and Kdrum, a new survey of military personnel by Foreign Policy shows that fewer senior officers supported allowing gays in the military (22 percent) than were interested in reinstating the draft (38 percent). The most popular idea for increasing recruitment, however, was lowering educational standards (58 percent).
Matt said this was probably the most obvious means of increasing bodies in the military, but it sort of depends on what you want the military to do. If you think that the military's sole purpose, as it has been, is to shoot guns and stand guard, then yes, lowering educational standards will do the task for increasing troop levels. But, if you think that the military needs to be a leaner, more highly trained force to be knowledgeable about the areas where they're stationed, then lowering educational standards seems like a bad idea. I can see both sides of the argument, but I tend to think that the main problem with recruitment is that troops are becoming exhausted and we're rotating through troops and burning them out faster than we realize.
One thought about attitudes toward gays in the military: I think what the survey points to mostly is the high levels of homophobia still in the military. There's a definite emphasis on masculinity and traditional gender roles there. My good friends' sister joined the Marines after high school, and she was told she had to wear very specific shades of lipstick in dress uniform.