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ARLINGTON, Va. — With all three Army components once again missing their recruiting goals, service leaders quickly added another series of incentives in an effort to boost enlistments.

The active Army missed its recruiting goal in March by 32 percent, marking the second month in a row the component has not brought enough new soldiers into the fold, according to statistics from the U.S. Army’s Recruiting Command at Fort Knox in Kentucky. The last time the active Army missed any monthly recruiting targets at all was May 2000.

The Army Reserve, meanwhile, missed its March recruiting goal by 46 percent, the third month in a row the component’s recruiters have fallen short.

Fort Knox does not keep recruiting statistics for the Army National Guard, which is the responsibility of each state component, according to Recruiting Command spokesman Douglas Smith.

On March 23, however, Army Secretary Francis Harvey told Pentagon reporters that the National Guard has met just 75 percent of its recruiting goals. Harvey added that he expects recruiting shortfalls for all three components to continue throughout April.

With just six months left before the end of the government’s fiscal 2005, it is unclear how much longer any of the Army’s components can afford to miss monthly enlistment goals before their year-end targets are hopelessly out of sight.

Active Army recruiters have been told to sign 80,000 new recruits by the end of fiscal 2005, or Sept. 30. Army Reserve recruiters are supposed to find 22,175 enlistees. As of the end of March, however, the active Army had met 89 percent of its recruiting goal, short by 3,973 enlistees.

The Army Reserve, meanwhile, had met just 82 percent of its March goal, and was short by a total of 1,382 recruits for the year to date. Statistics for the National Guard for March were not available. But the Guard is the component senior Army leaders say provokes the most worry.

“I am cautiously optimistic about the reserve and the active component,” Harvey said March 23 when asked to assess the ability of the three Army components to meet year-end goals. But “obviously, I’m concerned about the National Guard,” he said.

In the past week, Army officials added three new enlistment incentives in an effort to reverse the negative recruiting trends:


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