Recruiting, Retention Rates Remain High for 10th Straight Month
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 10, 2006 Recruiting and retention rates released today demonstrate that young people see military service as a viable career option and, once they join, they want to continue serving, Defense Department officials said today.
Active-duty statistics for March reflect continued across-the-board success for the 10th consecutive month, Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokesman, told American Forces Press Service.
Krenke said the numbers prove that recruitment-age men and women aren't dissuaded by the possibility of combat duty and want to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
More than 13,000 people joined the active services during March alone, almost 5,400 of them in the Army, the service with the most members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, retention remains high among troops already serving who choose to re-enlist in the active as well as reserve force, Krenke said.
The Army achieved 104 percent of its active-duty recruiting role for March, and the Marine Corps attained 102 percent, with almost 1,700 new members. The Navy and Air Force both met their monthly goals, recruiting more than 2,800 sailors and almost 3,200 airmen, respectively.
Reserve and National Guard recruiting remained strong too, particularly for the Army, which represents 80 percent of the entire reserve-component force. The Army National Guard exceeded its March goal by 2 percent, recruiting almost 6,700 members, and the Army Reserve attracted almost 2,300 soldiers, 89 percent of its goal.
The Marine Corps Reserve exceeded its March goal by 22 percent, signing on 457 new members. The Air Force Reserve achieved 117 percent of its goal for the second consecutive month, recruiting 722 airmen in March, and the Air National Guard met its goal, with 834 new recruits. The Navy Reserve recruited 757 sailors, 87 percent of its goal.
Re-enlistments in the active as well as reserve components ran higher during March than for the same period last year, Krenke reported.
The Army reported today that it's 15 percent ahead of its year-to-date active-duty re-enlistment goal of nearly 35,000. Almost 40,000 soldiers re-enlisted during the first six months of fiscal 2006.
This trend is reflected in the Army's officer corps too, with the percentage of officers leaving the military at the end of their obligations continuing to remain lower than before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Army Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman.
Meanwhile, the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force enlisted forces continued to meet or exceed their year-to-date active-duty re-enlistment goals, Krenke said.
Within the reserve components, the Army National Guard met 108 percent of its cumulative retention goal for March, re-enlisting almost 17,000 members, and the Air National Guard met its March goal for a cumulative of 5,100 re-enlistments. Both the Army and Air Guard are currently at 96 and 99 percent of their end strength, respectively.
Losses within all six reserve components' enlisted ranks for February remained within acceptable limits and lower than last year's rates, Krenke said, noting that the trend is expected to continue into March.
"These number show that there's a solid interest in military service and that the programs and incentives being offered to enhance that interest are working," Krenke said. "And we're optimistic that this trend will continue."