ARLINGTON, Va. — For the first time in almost five years, the active-duty Army missed its monthly recruiting goal in February, a failure directly related to public concerns about the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an Army recruiting official said.

The Army Reserve also missed its goals in February, for the second month in a row.

“People are watching the news,” said Doug Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox in Kentucky. “They know the risks of military service in today’s environment.”

Army recruiters were told to bring 7,050 new soldiers into the fold in February.

Instead, the recruiters found only 5,114 people willing to join the active Army.

In the Army Reserve, the recruiting goal for the month was 1,320, but only 990 new reservists joined the service.

January’s recruiting goal for the Army Reserve was also missed, marking the first monthly shortfall for the component since September 2003, Smith said.

Fort Knox does not keep recruiting statistics for the Army National Guard. Recruiting for the Guard is the responsibility of each state component, which sets its own goal numbers.

For the Army and Army Reserve, the February shortfalls leave both components short for the fiscal year, as well.

The Army’s goal for recruiting active-duty soldiers for fiscal 2005, which began on Oct. 1, is 80,000. By the end of February, the component was supposed to have recruited 27,362 of those soldiers. But the Army missed that goal by 1,823 soldiers.

The goal for the Army Reserve is 22,175. By the end of February, the component was supposed to have recruited 5,587 of those soldiers. But the Army Reserve missed that goal by 643 soldiers.

Although Smith said Army officials are “keeping a close eye” on the recruiting results for the year, he said recruiters still believe they can make up the shortfalls by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

“Missing a month is not necessarily missing a year,” Smith said.

Nevertheless, “We knew it was going to be a difficult year,” Smith said.

For the first time since 2001, the active Army began fiscal 2005 with far fewer recruits in the Delayed Entry Program, which allows newly joined members to wait for up to a year before reporting for boot camp.

Army recruiters prefer to begin the fiscal year with 25 to 35 percent of their new yearly goal “banked” under the delayed entry status, Smith said.

But as of Oct. 1, 2004, when the government’s fiscal 2005 began, the Army only had 18 percent of its 2005 goal total in the program, he said.

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