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September 30, 2005

Mainstream Media Catches On: Recruiting is Failing

A widely syndicated AP article today confirms what Counterrecruiter and others have been reporting for months - military recruiting is in serious trouble.  Despite assurances from the DOD that things are improving, as the recruiting year comes to a close, the prospects for the year to come aren't looking too hot for the US Armed Forces.

The Army is closing the books on one of the leanest recruiting years since it became an all-volunteer service three decades ago, missing its enlistment target by the largest margin since 1979 and raising questions about its plans for growth.
The Army has not published official figures yet, but it apparently finished the 12-month counting period that ends Friday with about 73,000 recruits. Its goal was 80,000. A gap of 7,000 enlistees would be the largest -- in absolute number as well as in percentage terms -- since 1979, according to Army records.

The Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, which are smaller than the regular Army, had even worse results.

The active-duty Army had not missed its target since 1999, when it was 6,290 recruits short; in 1998 it fell short by 801, and in 1995 it was off by 33. Prior to that the last shortfall was in 1979 when the Army missed by 17,054 during a period when the Army was much bigger and its recruiting goals were double today's.

While the press seems to have jumped on this story, at least one person in the Army has his head in the sand about the recruiting crisis - which the AP reports "officials" insist is "not a crisis."  Captain August Murray was a military recruiter for four years, and he's penned a new book called "Military Recruiting," packed with "lessons, tips and advice" from Captain Murray's "four successful years of recruiting for the New Hampshire National Guard."

"Recruiting is a life-changing business," said Murray, who now serves as an instructor for the University of New Hampshire's Army ROTC Battalion. "Recruiters literally change the lives of their recruits. I hope they realize what a wonderful opportunity they have to make a difference."

Yeah, I think that the friends and families of the 2,154 American soldiers who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan would agree that recruiting is a life changing business. (See the recent Village Voice article for more on that, and the proposals to  honor the American troops by bringing them home and preventing any more deaths, of Americans, Iraqis, Afghanis, and who knows where next.)

Posted by Kat Aaron on September 30, 2005 | Permalink


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