Army expects to miss recruiting goal; other services on track to hit targets
WASHINGTON — Despite high re-enlistment numbers, Army officials expect they will miss their recruiting goals for this fiscal year and will face serious problems next year too.
Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, deputy chief of staff for the Army, said the service’s delayed entry pool for 2006 is about half of what officials usually depend on before entering a new year’s recruiting cycle. Instead of supplementing that pool, recruiters are enrolling new soldiers right away to make up for this year’s shortfalls.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do this summer to get where we need to be,” he told members of a House Armed Services subcommittee on Tuesday.
Hagenbeck said officials usually plan on pulling about 20 percent of their goal for a given year from the delayed entry pool, made up of recruits who have signed enlistment contracts but agreed to delay reporting to boot camp for several months.
Army recruiters reached their monthly target in June, but had missed those goals in the previous four months. The Army has recruited about 47,100 in the fiscal year so far, about 86 percent of its year-to-date goal and about 33,000 below its goal of 80,000 for the fiscal year, which ends in October.
David Chu, undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, said the Marines, Navy and Air Force are all on pace to meet their yearly goals. Officials for the Marine Corps, which had lagged in recruitments earlier in the year, announced the service would begin using enlistment bonuses to reach its year-end target.
The Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Army National Guard and Air National Guard are all behind pace to meet their recruiting goals.
Chu noted to the committee that retention data has been much more positive, with all four services above their active-duty re-enlistment goals. Marine officials announced earlier this month they have already reached their year-end goals for re-enlistments and have already begun their fiscal 2006 retention campaign.
But he noted that the Army recruiting problems could last well into next year, even if higher enlistment bonuses and other new recruiting tools are approved.
Those enticements, pending before Congress, likely won’t go into effect until early 2006, three months into the new recruiting cycle.
“We recognize the seriousness of the problem,” he said. “We are below where we want to be.”
Committee members chastised Chu for saying effects of the war on terror on recruiting “is not as large of a situation as some have made it.”
Subcommittee chairman John McHugh, R-N.Y., said defense officials continue to ignore the need to raise the Army’s end strength to lessen soldiers’ workload overseas, which he sees as a major factor in pushing potential recruits away from the service.