April 18, 2007:
The U.S. Army National Guard has
fixed its recruiting problem and restored itself to its authorized strength of
350,000. Three years ago, the Guard was nearly ten percent short of its annual
recruiting goal (56,000 recruits). It has since fixed many of the problems that
led to that shortfall, as well as an increase in the number of people who were
The cause of it all was manifold. Guard troops were
dismayed at how many of them were being called up for duty in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Added to that there were breakdowns in the army bureaucracy,
resulting in Guard troops getting paid late, or not at all for some benefits.
In addition to fixing the paperwork problems, the
number of recruiters was tripled, and more bonuses were offered for people with
needed skills. Some states added benefits as well (like free tuition at state
universities.) Guard troops were told how often they could expect to be called up
in the future, which took care of a major gripe. Troops were offered $2,000
bonuses for each new recruit they brought in. This was a major success, taking
advantage of the fact that most Guard recruiting had always been word-of-mouth.
The Guard reached full strength last month, and is
currently ahead of its recruiting goals for this year.