July Recruiting, Retention Figures Reflect Continued Success
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2005 A fresh supply of recent high school graduates, more recruiters and more enticing enlistment incentives are being credited with the Army's second straight successful month of meeting its recruiting goals, according to the Defense Department's acting deputy undersecretary for military personnel policy.
Bill Carr offered his assessment today as the Defense Department released statistics reflecting all four services' recruiting and retention figures for July.
The Army, Marine Corps and Air Force met or exceeded their goals for the month, and the Navy achieved 99 percent of its July goal, DoD officials reported.
The Army recruited the most new members, more than 8,000, 9 percent above its July goal. The Marines recruited more than 3,600 members, 103 percent of their goal; and the Air Force, almost 2,100, 101 percent of its goal. The Navy added more than 4,700 new sailors to its ranks, just 41 short of its July goal.
Acknowledging that the Army and Navy, with the highest recruiting goals, "face the stiffest headwinds" in filling their ranks, Carr said the July numbers reflect a lot of hard work by recruiters and an increasingly attractive recruiting environment.
But he acknowledged that across-the-board recruiting successes in June and July may not be enough to make up for springtime slumps when the services, particularly the Army, tally up their year-end recruiting numbers. "Success for the year is still going to be a challenge," he said.
Summer months always are better recruiting months than springtime, with new high school graduates providing a larger potential recruiting pool, Carr said.
In addition, a boost in the number of recruiters and the incentives they can offer for joining the military is paying off, Carr said. DoD has asked Congress to increase the top enlistment bonuses beyond $20,000, and Carr said he expects this request, once approved, to further help military recruitment.
A continuing problem confronting recruiters is that adults who influence young people's decision to join the military - parents, teachers, coaches and others - are 9 to 10 percent less likely than in the past to recommend military service. As a result, Carr said, recruitment efforts are increasingly addressing not just potential recruits, but also their influencers, many whose only exposure to the military is based on what they see on television or in the movies.
Recruiters from services struggling to fill their ranks also are increasingly looking to veterans from other services who wish to rejoin the military, Carr said. He noted the value prior-service recruits bring to the military, with valuable training and experience under their belts.
Active-duty retention during July remained high, with all services meeting or exceeding their overall retention goals for the month, and expected to meet their goals for the fiscal year.
These figures "speak well for the units, the commanders and all those who serve," Carr said.
In the reserve components, the Marine Corps Reserve and Air Force Reserve met their July recruiting goals, but the other reserve components fell short for the month.
The Air National Guard achieved 87 percent of its July goal; the Army Reserve, 82 percent; the Army National Guard, 80 percent; and the Navy Reserve, 54 percent.
Defense officials cite two possible reasons for this shortfall: an improving economy and the successful active-duty retention rate that leaves a small pool of prior-service candidates likely to join the reserve components.