Peace Time: December 18, 2002

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The U.S. is increasing it's recruiting efforts among non-citizens in the United States. America has long enlisted foreigners, especially during time of war. From 1940-72, resident aliens were also subject to the draft. As an incentive, aliens who have served three years are eligible to become naturalized citizens. From World War II on, foreigners were also seen as a good source of translators. Many young refugees from Eastern Europe and Russia served during the Cold War. The Army Special Forces and intelligence units were particularly glad to have the foreign born troops because of their language skills and knowledge of their native cultures. During the 1991 Gulf War, Arab-American or Middle Eastern born troops were a prime source of Arab linguists. While Saudis, Kuwaitis and Iraqis sometimes had problems with the American accents of second or third generation Arab-American troops speaking Arabic, this was quickly overcome and these troops left a very favorable impression of America. There are currently about 31,000 foreign born troops in the U.S. military. Last year, 2,435 of them became American citizens. This was an increase from 1,146 from the previous year. 

 


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