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Officials Optimistic About Army Recruiting Despite May Shortfall

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2007 – Defense officials said today they’re not overly concerned that the Army fell slightly short of its recruiting goal for May, noting that the service is still 2,000 recruits ahead of its year-to-date goals.

Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, declared May “a successful month” for recruiting, noting that three of the four services met or exceeded their active-duty goals.

“The Army missed, but is still ahead of the game, year to date,” Carr said during a conference call with veterans’ service organization members. “And we’re optimistic that the year will close OK.”

The Army recruited 5,101 active-duty soldiers in May, 399 short of its 5,500-soldier goal, the Defense Department announced today. The Navy and Air Force both met their May goals, with 2,709 and 2,451 recruits, respectively. The Marine Corps exceeded its May goal by 34 percent, signing on 2,225 new Marines.

Four of the six reserve components met or exceeded their May goals. The Army Reserve, with 3,929 accessions, topped its goal by 6 percent. The Marine Corps Reserve brought in 1,043 new members, 111 percent of its goal. The Navy Reserve recruited 913 sailors, 105 percent of its goal; and the Air Force Reserve signed on 675 airmen, 104 percent of its goal.

The Army National Guard recruited 5,612 soldiers, 12 percent short of its goal; and the Air National Guard signed on 736 airmen, 77 percent of its goal.

Carr said retention remains solid across the board, with all services meeting or exceeding their May goals. Deployed troops reported during surveys that they are “a few percentage points” less inclined to re-enlist, but Carr said the “flat” overall retention picture suggests that current retention trends will continue, at least for the near term.

That flat projection is expected to apply to recruiting, too, with no major shifts expected in the propensity of young people to join the military, he said.

This outlook isn’t as positive among influencers and parents, those adults who help young people make decisions about joining the military. Support among this group “continues to dwindle as the war progresses,” Carr said.

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