March 10, 2006

Regular Army hits recruit goal, Reserve short

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The active-duty U.S. Army, which
fell short in recruiting in fiscal 2005, met its February goal,
the Pentagon said on Friday, but fell short in the number of
recruits netted in the year to date compared to last year.

Four of the military's six reserve components -- the
part-time Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and
Air National Guard -- missed their February goals. The
active-duty Navy, Air Force and Marines met their quotas.

The regular Army has achieved its recruiting goals for nine
months in a row. It sent 6,114 recruits into boot camp in
February, topping its goal of 6,000.

The Army has attracted 25,973 recruits through the first
five months of fiscal 2006 -- 3 percent ahead of its goal --
with an aim of getting 80,000 by September 30.

But the Army had attracted 27,440 recruits through the
first five months of fiscal 2005, a recruiting year in which it
ended up about 7,000 short of its goal of 80,000.

Because of the way the Army has structured its monthly
goals, nearly 70 percent of its fiscal 2006 recruiting mission
must be accomplished from March through September.

Fiscal 2005, when the Army missed its annual goal for the
first time since 1999, was one of the weakest recruiting
performances for the regular Army since the birth of the
all-volunteer military in 1973 during the tumult of the Vietnam
War era.

Army officials attributed the problems in part to wariness
among young people about joining up during the Iraq war.

The Army Reserve came up 3 percent short in February,
bringing in 2,279 against a goal of 2,359, and is now 1 percent
shy of its year-to-date goal, officials said.

The Army Reserve, which also missed its 2005 recruiting
goal, is a force of part-time soldiers who train periodically
and can be called by the Pentagon to active duty from their
civilian lives in emergencies. Thousands of Army Reserve
soldiers have been mobilized to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The part-time Army National Guard got 6,583 recruits to
beat its goal of 6,536, and remained ahead of its year-to-date

The Army has added recruiters and enlistment incentives,
and in December hired a new advertising agency to handle its
recruiting campaign.

The U.S. Army Recruiting Command last month unveiled a new
incentive for recruits who agree to enter the Army Reserve
quickly after signing up, rather than delaying their entry.

The command offered a cash enlistment bonus of up to
$10,000 for recruits who enlist for at least three years and
agree to report for Army Reserve training within 30 days of
enlistment. Recruits can add this to other enlistment
incentives up to a maximum of a $20,000 bonus, officials said.