July 11, 2007:
second time in the last two years, and the second month in a row, the U.S. Army
missed its monthly recruiting goals. The army brought in 5,101 new recruits in
May, seven percent short of what it expected. In June, the shortfall was 12
percent. Recruiters reported more cases of parents refusing to let their
under-18 year old children sign up, and more parental resistance in general.
Another problem is that army recruiting goals are higher this year because
Congress has ordered an increase of active duty strength from 514,000 to
547,000. The army also has a growing problem with potential recruits being out
of shape (overweight and unable to meet minimum physical standards) or lacking
sufficient education (and being unable to pass the army screening tests for
mental skills). Recruiters are spending more time working with overweight, but
mentally qualified, recruits, to help them lose weight and get in shape.
However, the army still
believes it can make its annual goal because it is about 2,000 recruits ahead
with its fiscal year-to-date (which began last October) total. The other
services are also making their recruiting numbers.