Both the Army and Marines announed this week they missed their recruiting targets in February. For the Marines it marked the first time in over a decade that it missed its target for two consecutive months. For the Army, the active duty, Guard and Reserve forces all came up short of recruiting goals for the first time in five years. The Army’s goal was just over 7,000 recruits but it fell short by 1,900. Both the Marines and Army have announced plans to dramatically increase the number of recruiters and to begin offering new re-enlistment bonuses. Pentagon spokesperson Larry DiRita said the the Army is adding 950 new recruiters, a 20 percent increase. The Marines plan to add 10 percent more recruiters as well.
The Pentagon’s DiRita suggested part of the problem comes from how the media is covering the war. He said, “I mean, without question, when there’s the kind of coverage that there has been about casualties – and we certainly mourn all the casualties, but they are covered, there’s prominent media coverage of casualties in Iraq – parents factor those kinds of things in to what they want their children doing.”