Military Falls Short of Recruiting Goals
We already knew that the Army National Guard fell short of its recruitment goals this year by 5,000. The Wall Street Journal now adds that the Reserves fell 45% Short of their goal while the gap in regular signups was 30% of the military's target: (available free to AOL members here):
this year, the Army entered fiscal 2005 with an unusually low number of recruits in the bank, about 16,000, or 21% of its overall goal for the year. By contrast, a year ago, it began fiscal 2004 with 33,000 prospective soldiers.
For the second straight year, U.S. Army recruiters fell short of their goal for signing up enlistees in the first month of a new recruiting cycle. For the first 30-day period in its new recruiting year, the Army was 30% shy of its goal of signing up 7,274 recruits. The Army had a particularly hard time recruiting for the Army Reserve, on which the Pentagon has relied heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Enlistments for the reserves were 45% below the target.
In the same period last year, the Army came up 25% short in its goal in the first month for enlisting 6,220 regular recruits and 40% short of its reserve enlistment goal.
The Army does faces some challenges this year. One is its increased goal of boosting the number of soldiers who report for duty by 3.8%, to about 80,000, which is in keeping with congressional mandates to build the force. In the next few years, the Pentagon wants to increase the size of the active-duty Army force temporarily by about 30,000 to roughly 510,000.
Another is the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some senior Pentagon officials say the wars are almost certain to hurt recruiting efforts, especially for reserves, who have been called up for active duty in large numbers.
The army has come up with cash incentives and other proposals to increase recruitment:
As it has in the past, the Army has responded to shortfalls by offering larger cash incentives. It recently bumped up the amount it will pay toward enlistees' college tuition by 50% to $75,000 and increased cash bonuses. Many recruits can get bonuses of $15,000 or more if they offer certain skills in demand and agree to report for duty in one month or less. The Army also said recently it plans to add 1,000 recruiters nationwide.
If those don't work? It shouldn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. [weatherman hat tip to Bob Dylan.]
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