Attrition: National Guard Reverses Recruiting Slide


February 24, 2006: The U.S. Army National Guard is four percent short of its authorized strength of 350,000. That's an improvement, because last Summer, it was five percent short. The National Guard is a reserve outfit that expects to be called to active duty mainly for local emergencies. But since September 11, 2001, many Guard members have been called up, many to spend a year in Iraq. This discouraged many from joining the Guard. The downward trend was reversed by establishing limits for how long, and how often, Guard troops could be called up for active duty. After those 14-18 month (including training and preparation time) activations for Iraq and Afghanistan, the troops were wondering how often this would happen. Another incentive was money. Most members of the Guard make more money on active duty, than they do in their civilian jobs, and the army added some more money and cleared up problems some troops had getting paid on time. More benefits were added, including some that had been sought for a long time (like family health care for troops called to active duty.)