Attrition: American Reserves Restore Themselves


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 not re-enlisting.

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.


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