Active Army, Guard, Reserve Boost Recruiting Resources
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2005 The Army is adding active, Guard and Reserve recruiters and offering more bonuses to potential enlistees to combat a recruiting environment that's recently turned sluggish, a senior DoD official told the House Armed Services Committee March 16.
Overall, "this will be a very challenging year for recruiting for the reserve components," particularly in the Army National Guard and Reserve, Charles S. Abell noted in prepared remarks delivered before the Military Personnel Subcommittee. Abell is the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
Yet, Abell noted, there's been recent improvement in meeting the reserve components' overall recruiting objectives, which jumped from 75 percent in October 2004 to 81 percent at the end of January 2005. The Air Force and Marine Corps, he noted, have been among the leaders in recent reserve-component recruiting.
In fiscal 2004, the reserve components enlisted 118,177 recruits, achieving 96 percent of their overall accession goal, Abell noted.
Reserve-component recruiting challenges "will continue in 2005," he predicted, with the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve "at high risk of falling short of their recruiting objectives" for the year.
However, the Army National Guard is adding 1,400 more recruiters, totaling 4,100, he noted, while the Army Reserve is bolstering its recruiting force by 734, for a total of 1,774 recruiters.
Additionally, 250 active-Army recruiters are being detailed for reserve recruiting duty while more reserve recruiters are being trained, Abell noted.
The Army National Guard "has steadily accessed more new recruits each month," Abell pointed out.
The other four DoD reserve components, he observed, "are projecting that they will achieve their 2005" recruiting objectives.
Abell noted that the active-duty force enlisted 182,825 servicemembers for fiscal 2004, exceeding the recruiting goal by over 100 percent. And, he added, all of the services met or exceeded their active-duty recruiting goals through January 2005.
Yet, active-duty recruiting for the remainder of this fiscal year "is expected to be challenging, particularly for the Army," Abell predicted, noting the Army may have missed its February active-duty recruiting quota by about 1,900 enlistees.
However, "the Army is aggressively attacking any potential shortfall through three avenues of approach," Abell noted, to include adding 250 active-duty recruiters over the next two months, offering more enlistment bonuses and education incentives, and employing more advertising especially targeted toward key "influencers" like parents.
And, with the Army "aggressively shifting resources to respond to recruiting challenges," Abell noted, "we remain optimistic that it will achieve its year-end recruiting and end-strength goals."
All of the armed services, Abell pointed out, met or exceeded their active-duty recruiting goals through December 2004.
And, servicemember retention across the services for fiscal 2005 "is on track," Abell reported, noting DoD "continues to work with Congress to achieve needed military pay raises and to develop flexible and discretionary compensation programs."