- The Pentagon, hard-pressed to meet recruiting goals for
the all-volunteer armed forces, yesterday delayed announcing enlistment
numbers for May until June 10.
- A spokesman said the services want to take more time
to analyze the numbers - which typically are released on the first of the
month - and explain them to the public.
- The Army and Marine Corps have missed monthly goals this
year, but spokesmen for both services said they expect recruiting to pick
up this summer after high school graduation. Officials predict they will
meet enlistments by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
- The Army has increased enlistment bonuses and, in a more
dramatic move, offered 15-month enlistments, instead of four-years. Army
officials say the problem in signing up 80,000 recruits this year stems,
in part, from battlefield deaths in Iraq that are causing high school students
to have second thoughts.
- They also blame an improving economy and the Army's expansion
of 30,000, requiring more soldiers at the beginning of the pipeline.
- The Air Force and Navy continue to meet recruiting benchmarks.
- The Army missed goals in February and March by a few
percentage points, then fell a much larger 42 percent behind in April.
- The Marine Corps needs just more than 38,000 recruits
- Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the head of U.S. Army Recruiting
Command, said last month that these are "the most challenging conditions
we have seen in recruiting in my 33 years in this uniform."
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