The Chilean military is blaming a drop in volunteers on the student protests. The logic is that with schools closed, there is no way for the armed forces to reach out to young people interested in joining. In Chile, serving is only compulsory if the military does not get enough volunteers.
There are all sorts of other potential reasons for the drop, some positive, some negative. Perhaps people at lower socio-economic levels actually have more employment opportunities. Perhaps the earthquake left a negative impression about the military. Perhaps the military needs to adapt its recruitment efforts to a new generation.
Further, the AP notes problems with the military's math.
But Chile's military also had a shortage last year, before the movement began, and at that time it called up fewer than 39,000 for the draft.
To have 2.5 candidates for each spot, the military would need to call up only 14,223 more youngsters. Instead, so many more have been told to report that Chile could have more than six candidates for each position. The Associated Press asked Chile's national draft office in writing for an explanation, as requested by its spokesman, and did not immediately receive a response.
Overall, this is a self-inflicted PR problem. It makes the military look either unpopular or incompetent.