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Military recruitment and retention stay strong

NAPLES, Italy — All four active-duty military services have met or exceeded recruitment goals as of May for this fiscal year.

According to a Defense Department release, the Army recruited 44,950 new soldiers, above its 44,200 goal. The Navy recruited 20,942 people, its exact goal number, according to the release. Air Force ranks were also right on the money, with 18,444 “accessions.”

The Marine Corps beat its recruiting goal by 39 people to bring in 14,995 to the Devil Dogs’ side. Reserve components also hit or exceeded their recruiting goals, and the release states that retention goals are on track so far this fiscal as well.

Continuing economic strife and American joblessness are often cited as reasons why the military is enjoying such strong recruiting and retention numbers, but that security may be coming to an end as the Pentagon increasingly looks to tighten its belt.

In an attempt to address retention bloat, about 16,000 sailors are being considered for involuntary separation from the Navy because they fall into 31 overmanned job categories, or ratings.

Sailors in these overmanned ratings are being encouraged to convert to one of 15 undermanned jobs, most of them aboard submarines. A quota-based enlisted retention board will start convening in August to decide the fate of about 3,000 sailors, with results expected by November.

The pay and benefits enjoyed by servicemembers also could change to reflect the new economic outlook.

Earlier this month, outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for changes in military pay and retirement benefits. Salaries could be reduced, he said, citing the services persistently meeting or exceeding goals.

So, readers, recruitment and retention remain robust, at least partially due to the lack of jobs elsewhere.

What do you think? Does the military need to trim some personnel fat and reassess pay and benefits?

Join the conversation and share your voice.

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