Recruiting is Solid Despite Difficulties, Defense Official Says
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2007 Recruiting and retention remain solid despite a difficult recruiting market, a top Defense Department official said here yesterday.
In 2006, the Defense Department gained 180,540 active duty recruits, exceeding its goal by 833 servicemembers, David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said at the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
But an improving economy, increased Army and Marine Corps recruiting goals and high operations tempo challenge current recruiting efforts, Chu said.
“When we face challenges, we carefully monitor the situation and take measures to resolve problems,” he said.
Continually reviewing servicemembers’ compensation packages ensures their pay and allowances are “fair and equitable,” he said.
“We seek expert reviews of some of our most important compensation policies and programs,” Chu said. “Last year, the Defense Advisory Committee on Military Compensation reviewed matters pertaining to military compensation, examining approaches to balancing military pay and benefits and incentive structures.
“(The committee) made suggestions for improvements that it believes will assist us in meeting our recruiting and retention objectives,” he said.
Chu said officials are using the committee’s findings as a starting point for reviewing “the principles and concepts of the compensation system.”
Another initiative Chu announced is a public affairs campaign “aimed at bolstering patriotic impulses and the perception of military service.”
“Throughout our nation’s history, military service had a tremendous formative impact on many of our greatest leaders: presidents, legislators, leaders of industry, educators,” he said. “We are increasing our efforts to communicate the value of service to the American people.”
Chu implored the House subcommittee to “partner with us in this effort by joining our speakers’ bureau to emphasize the importance, nobility, and value of service.
“The ultimate objective,” he said, “is to reach out to parents and influencers in ways that lead them to support their sons’ and daughters’ decisions to serve.”
Chu said the services exceeded their retention goals in 2006, and active duty retention continues on track in 2007.
“The success of our all volunteer force begins with recruiting, and the viability of the force is assured with successful retention.”