Army claims to have met July recruiting goal after shortfall

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Also see “Army Adding Recruiters to Meet Goals” from the Post.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — After falling short of its recruiting goals for two straight months, the Army said Friday that it had met its July quota, partly by pouring more personnel and other resources into the effort.

The Army is augmenting its recruiters in the field not only by pulling people from other jobs within the recruiting organization but also by adding personnel from elsewhere in the service. One thousand former recruiters are being shifted to bolster temporarily a field staff usually numbering about 8,000.

Pentagon officials have been paying close attention to recruiting efforts by the Army, which has struggled to attract new troops as the nation remains deeply engaged in a prolonged war in Iraq that has required repeated, lengthy deployments.

Announcing its July figures, the Army said it had signed up 9,972 new soldiers, surpassing a goal of 9,750 for the month. Each of the three other services also achieved the monthly targets for their active-duty and part-time components, except for the Air National Guard, which reached only 87 percent of its goal. The Marine Corps signed up 4,793 new personnel, the Navy 4,173 active-duty sailors and the Air Force 2,078 active-duty recruits.

Army officials acknowledged that their success in July, after two troubling months, was at least partly due to a new $20,000 “quick ship” bonus, offered as of July 25 to recruits who can report to basic training by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The officials expressed optimism that they would meet their goal of 80,000 recruits this fiscal year, saying that as of July 30 they had recruited 61,864 soldiers for active-duty service, above the target they were supposed to achieve by that date.

“We are continuing to reach out to the American public with a number of innovative programs, including the $20,000 ‘quick ship’ bonus,” said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman. “To put our current success in perspective, consider that we’re recruiting an all-volunteer force during a protracted war for the first time in history.”

Mr. Boyce said summer was typically a peak recruiting period for the armed services, as young people find themselves between high school and decisions about college and long-term career choices.

The Army met its recruiting quota last year but failed to do so the year before, the first time in six years that it did not reach its targets. This year, it missed its June goal of 8,400 by more than 1,000, and its May goal of 5,500 by about 400.

Not only is the Army recruiting effort faced with the dampening effect of Iraq casualties, but the service has also embarked on a five-year program to increase its active-duty strength to 547,000, from the previously authorized level of 514,000.

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