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Recruiting Numbers Jump in Fiscal 2006

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2006 – All U.S. armed forces made their active-duty recruiting goals for fiscal 2006, the Defense Department’s top personnel officer said here today.

David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told reporters in the Pentagon that the recruiting environment was difficult in 2006 and will remain tough for fiscal 2007, but officials believe the services have a handle on the situation.

“At its heart, the military is all about people, and especially our quality people,” Chu said.

In fiscal 2005, the Army missed its recruiting goal by 7,000. This year, the Army exceeded the goal by 635 soldiers. The goal both years was 80,000.

The other services all made their goals, as well, with the Navy enlisting 36,679 new members, the Marine Corps enlisting 32,301, and the Air Force 30,750.

The news was almost as good on the reserve-component side, with the Army National Guard just missing its target of 70,000 by enlisting 69,042. The Army Reserve met 95 percent of its goal, with 34,379; the Marine Reserve met 100 percent, enlisting 8,056; and the Navy Reserve made 87 percent of its goal, at 9,722. The Air National Guard made 97 percent of its goal, at 9,138; and the Air Force Reserve enlisted 106 percent of its goal at 6,989.

“We speak often about an all-volunteer force, … but it is really an all-recruited force,” Chu said. “People don’t just walk in the door, particularly people we want to have in the military. You have to go out and seek them out and persuade them that this is a good choice for them.”

The undersecretary said the services made their recruiting goals without lowering standards for all recruits.

Chu said there are two reasons why fiscal 2006 was successful. “First, focus,” he said. “Focus by the military services putting more recruiters out there.

“Second is patriotism,” he continued. “One of the things we read into the survey results of young Americans today is (that) patriotism has risen to a much higher place on the list of reasons why people join the military. In a sense, we are seeing right before our eyes the unfolding of a new ‘greatest generation’ in the history of our republic.”

Chu said enlistments lag in New England and the upper Midwest and are strong in all other parts of the country.

Looking ahead, Chu said fiscal 2007 will be a difficult recruiting year, too. The economy remains robust, but the services have the resources to make their goals, he said.

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David S.C. Chu

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Communication Critical to Maintain Recruiting Momentum

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