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Army in Worst Recruiting Slump in Decades

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Twotimer

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Army in Worst Recruiting Slump in Decades

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military WriterFri Sep 30,10:57 AM ET

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.

Many in Congress believe the Army needs to get bigger — perhaps by 50,000 soldiers over its current 1 million — in order to meet its many overseas commitments, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army already is on a path to add 30,000 soldiers, but even that will be hard to achieve if recruiters cannot persuade more to join the service.

Officials insist the slump is not a crisis.

Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution think tank, said the recruiting shortfall this year does not matter greatly — for now.

"The bad news is that any shortfall shows how hard it would be to increase the Army's size by 50,000 or more as many of us think appropriate," O'Hanlon said. "We appear to have waited too long to try."

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.

Army officials knew at the outset that 2005 would be a tough year to snag new recruits. By May it was obvious that after four consecutive months of coming up short there was little chance of meeting the full-year goal.

A summertime surge of signups offered some hope the slump may be ending. An Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, said that despite the difficulties, recruiters were going full speed as the end of fiscal year 2005, Sept. 30, arrived.

"We have met the active Army's monthly recruiting goals since June, and we expect to meet it for September, which sends us into fiscal year 2006 on a winning streak," Hilferty said. He also noted that the Army has managed to meet its re-enlistment goals, even among units that have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But there are compelling reasons to think that Army recruiters are heading into a second consecutive year of recruiting shortfalls.

The outlook is dimmed by several key factors, including:

• The daily reports of American deaths in Iraq and the uncertain nature of the struggle against the insurgency have put a damper on young people's enthusiasm for joining the military, according to opinion surveys.

• The Army has a smaller-then-usual reservoir of enlistees as it begins the new recruiting year on Saturday. This pool comes from what the Army calls its delayed-entry program in which recruits commit to join the Army on condition that they ship to boot camp some months later.

Normally that pool is large enough at the start of the recruiting year to fill one-quarter of the Army's full-year need. But it has dwindled so low that the Army is starting its new recruiting year with perhaps only 5 percent "in the bank." The official figure on delayed entry recruits has not been released publicly, although Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, has said it is the smallest in history.

The factors working against the Army, Hilferty said, are a strong national economy that offers young people other choices, and "continued negative news from the Middle East." To offset that the Army has vastly increased the number of recruiters on the street, offered bigger signup bonuses and boosted advertising.

Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., said in an interview that the Army would attract more recruits if it could offer shorter enlistments than the current three-year norm.

As it stands, the Army faces a tough challenge for the foreseeable future.

"The future looks even grimmer. Recruiting is going to get harder and harder," Moskos said.

___

On the Net:

Army Recruiting Command at http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq.html
 

Disagreeable

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Thank you, Twotimer. I was ready to post this myself today. The damage that George W. Bush is doing to this great institution makes me very angry. I know it will survive him; it's survived many others before. But there's just no reason for this invasion of Iraq, thousands dead, billions of dollars wasted. :mad:
 

BBJ

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Could it be that this is one of the leanest recruiting years because of all the negative reporting that has been done on this war? Not trying to take any blame away from President Bush because I know you guys and gals have already made your minds up on that one, but do you think the media has some responsiblity for it? Does the democrats have a role in it too? Or is this just another one of those times that it's all Bushs fault. Lets be honest here. I know President Bush is the Commander in Chief, don't use that line, but with all the negativity about this war I feel like that is a good reason for a lower number. I'm not suggesting we lie to people and talk it up to be a amusement park over there but, and I know peopple will get on to me for this, the Marines that I know personally said its' not near as bad over there as the media says. Now none of us have been there so we can't say what its like and for us to just blindly believe the media and quote it as gospel is niave in my opinion. I even worked with a guy that went over there as a contractor and whe he came back said it wasn't bad at all. Yeah bad stuff is happening but he too said the media blew it out of proportion as we all know they do. So honestly is the lower number of recuits this year totally the fault of our President?
 

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BBJ...I'd say YES the lower numbers of those signing up for the military is directly linked to the bad job Bush is doing.

I get weekly letters now from kids....yes kids.... who are over there. ( via the web site Anysoldier.com) Who would want to sign up....and go on tour of duty without the necessary armour for you or your vehicle or yourself??

These kids have to buy their own extra steel plates, usually from local village people, to reinforce the Hummers/trucks, etc..... the doors and the floors. The bullet proof vests need more plating and the list goes on.

Now.. since we now know all this from the troops who have been over there awhile.....would YOU want to sign up and run over there????
 

BBJ

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kolanuraven judging by your statement not only is President Bush doing a bad job but he is also responsible for the lack of armour. Man where does it stop with you people? Lower number of recruitments, HIS FAULT, need for more armour, HIS FAULT, our soldiers dieing, HIS FAULT, innocent women and children dieing in Iraq, HIS FAULT, what else would you like to add?

Lower number of recruitments, My opinion, yes the current situation is bad, so I can see where many would not want to sign up. I'm sure in times of peace there are people that don't sign up. Even though this doesn't amount to anything YES I considered signing up. After thinking it through I could NOT put my wife and 3 yr. old little girl through that, but if it weren't for my love for them, you might have been recieving letters from me.
Need for more armour, my opinion , yes there will always be a need for more and better armour.
Our soldiers dieing, my opinion, in fear of being labeled as cold heart, well I'll say it anyway, I'm sorry but people die in war.
Innocent women and children dieing, my opinion, what about the innocent that died here on 9/11?
 

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BBJ said:
Could it be that this is one of the leanest recruiting years because of all the negative reporting that has been done on this war?

Would you have the media just ignore the fact that Americans are dying; that Iraqis are fighting each other; there were no WMDs; Iraq posed no danger to the US, etc? Should the media just sit on that story as the Times sat on the eavesdropping story when the White House requested it?


Not trying to take any blame away from President Bush because I know you guys and gals have already made your minds up on that one, but do you think the media has some responsiblity for it? Does the democrats have a role in it too? Or is this just another one of those times that it's all Bushs fault. Lets be honest here. I know President Bush is the Commander in Chief, don't use that line, but with all the negativity about this war I feel like that is a good reason for a lower number. I'm not suggesting we lie to people and talk it up to be a amusement park over there but, and I know peopple will get on to me for this, the Marines that I know personally said its' not near as bad over there as the media says. Now none of us have been there so we can't say what its like and for us to just blindly believe the media and quote it as gospel is niave in my opinion. I even worked with a guy that went over there as a contractor and whe he came back said it wasn't bad at all. Yeah bad stuff is happening but he too said the media blew it out of proportion as we all know they do. So honestly is the lower number of recuits this year totally the fault of our President?

You're not the only person who knows someone in Iraq or that has been to Iraq. Yes, the Iraqi war is George W. Bush's war. It was unnecessary. He skewed the intelligence to get approval from Congress to make the war. He ran the UN weapons inspectors out before they could say there were no WMDs. Why did he do that? I say because he wanted Saddam. He ignored professional soldier's recommendations about the number of troops it would take to take and hold the country and the Army is paying for it now with fewer and less qualified recruits. In their rush to do a war on the cheap, they didn't send enough troops, heavy armored vehicles or body armor for our soldiers.

Here's a quote from a soldier on his second tour ""It's definitely more dangerous this time around," agreed Spec. David Jones, 24, of New York, on his second tour in Iraq with the platoon. "I didn't expect to lose so many friends so soon."

I'm going to post this as a separate thread, but here's the link:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10913799/from/RS.3/
 

theHiredMansWife

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what about the innocent that died here on 9/11

We knew then and we know now that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks... We haven't snagged OBL, yet...

What has the war in Iraq done to make us safer post-9/11?
 

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BBJ said:
I'd like to know where you got that quote from the soldier.

I posted a link. You put your little cursor on it, it should turn into a hand, then you click your right mouse button and the article with that quote should come up on your screen. Simple enough for you?

Maybe you think that soldier should keep his mouth shut? That he has no right to express his opinion? It might cause Americans to think the war is not going well?
 

BBJ

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theHiredMansWife said:
what about the innocent that died here on 9/11

We knew then and we know now that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks... We haven't snagged OBL, yet...

What has the war in Iraq done to make us safer post-9/11?

Do you honestly think that Iraq would not hurt us if given the chance. Would you feel safe walking the streets of Iraq before this war started?

Can't wait for this one. :lol:
 

BBJ

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first off dis being the guru you are it's not the right mouse button that needs to be clicked, seems it's not simpple enough for you.

And as far as you trying to think for me, it's probably best that you concetrate on your determining your own thoughts and not those of others. Point out once that I said anything remotely close to that soldier not having a right to express his opinion, I dare you. You can't I simply asked the question where it came from. FIgured it came from a blog. :lol: :lol: :lol: Not saying the letter is not real but I will believe my face to face conversation over a random letter any day of the week. Sorry you don't understand that. :wink:
 

theHiredMansWife

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Would you feel safe walking the streets of Iraq before this war started?

This is your argument? :???:

Iraq wasn't exactly a vacation hotspot. Protection of tourists probably wouldn't have gotten a rousing support in Congress during the build-up...

I wouldn't have been safe walking down a street in Iraq before the war, and I most assuredly am not safe now.
Good thing I've never really cared if I visit Iraq or not. (the same could be said of 99% of American citizens).

My question again:
What has the war in Iraq done to make us safer post-9/11?

(You brought up 9/11, btw...)
 

BBJ

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Here we go again. :( I refuse to point out the obvious again. Please find someone else to explain it to you. :( I'm tired.
 

BBJ

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Oh yeah (I learned this one from dis) your SPINNING this one HMW. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

theHiredMansWife

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BBJ said:
Oh yeah (I learned this one from dis) your SPINNING this one HMW

Nope.

Just asked a really simple question:
What has the war in Iraq done to make us safer post-9/11?
confused-smiley-013.gif
 

BBJ

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theHiredMansWife said:
Well at least you feel safe to vacation in Iraq... :wink:


Just goes to show you can't get my points. Not anywhere near what or why I was asking the question, and you know it. At least I hope you do.
 

BBJ

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reader (the Second) said:
BBJ said:
theHiredMansWife said:
Well at least you feel safe to vacation in Iraq... :wink:


Just goes to show you can't get my points. Not anywhere near what or why I was asking the question, and you know it. At least I hope you do.

How old are you BBJ? And where are you in Central Texas? Just curious.

By the way, it was safe in Iraq before the war, as long as you did not run afoul of Saddam. I'm not saying he wasn't a tyrant, just that it was a safer place IFF (if and only if) you were a Ba'athist and not a Shi'ite. Less violent crime, insurgency, etc. Is it safe in South Korea? Is it safe in Iran? Was it safe under Tito? Franco?

what do my age and location have to do with anything? just curious too.
 

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