February Statistics Show Solid Recruiting, Retention Success
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2009 Defense Department officials today announced across-the-board recruiting and retention successes in February, with every service meeting or exceeding its active-duty, reserve and National Guard goals.
The statistics reflect solid recruiting performance during a month that Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman noted is traditionally a slow recruiting period.
Both the Army and Marine Corps, which are in the midst of growing their forces, exceeded their February goals. The Army led active-component recruiting, signing on 324 more soldiers than its 6,000-soldier goal for February. The Marine Corps, with 1,752 new accessions, topped its monthly goal by a whopping 36 percent, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Navy and Air Force met their February goals with 3,060 and 2,486 accessions, respectively.
In the reserve components, the Army National Guard signed on 6,114 members, 109 percent of its goal. The Army Reserve, with 3,614 accessions, topped its goal by 15 percent.
The Air National Guard recruited 946 members, 110 percent of its goal. The Navy Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve both met their monthly goals of 602 recruits, and the Air Force Reserve met its 803-airman goal.
These recruiting successes continue a fiscal 2009 trend despite what the Pentagon’s accessions chief described last week as a particularly challenging recruiting environment.
“The services have done a remarkable job in recruiting a quality force in an environment that has been characterized by most as the most challenging since the advent of the all-volunteer force in 1973,” Curtis Gilroy, director of the Pentagon’s Accessions Policy Office, told Congress last week.
Gilroy cited a full range of recruiting challenges during a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel hearing. Adult influencers have become increasingly hesitant to recommend military service, and young people are demonstrating a lower propensity to enlist than just four years ago, he said. In addition, the pool of qualified candidates is shrinking due to educational, physical fitness or health problems, including obesity.
But despite these challenges, Gilroy reported a strong year for military recruiting. “I’m delighted to report to you that the state of recruiting and retention for our active-duty force, as we are one-third of the way through fiscal 2009, is a success,” he told the congressional panel.