DoD has Best Recruiting Year Ever Since Draft

#1
Does anyone else see a problem here in that reports suggest there is an increase in departures of junior officers and NCOs due to op tempo and a sense that the wars will be concluded one way or the other and sooner that later.

A Historic Success In Military Recruiting
In Midst of Downturn, All Targets Are Met

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For the first time in more than 35 years, the U.S. military has met all of its annual recruiting goals, as hundreds of thousands of young people have enlisted despite the near-certainty that they will go to war.

The Pentagon, which made the announcement Tuesday, said the economic downturn and rising joblessness, as well as bonuses and other factors, had led more qualified youths to enlist.

The military has not seen such across-the-board successes since the all-volunteer force was established in 1973, after Congress ended the draft following the Vietnam War. In recent years, the military has often fallen short of some of its recruiting targets. The Army, in particular, has struggled to fill its ranks, admitting more high school dropouts, overweight youths and even felons.

Yet during the current budget year, which ended Sept. 30, recruiters met their targets in both numbers and quality for all components of active-duty and reserve forces.

"We delivered beyond anything the framers of the all-volunteer force would have anticipated," Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said at a Pentagon news conference.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are considered by experts to be an unprecedented test of the volunteer military's resilience. Its ability to bring fresh recruits into the force is critical not only to increasing the overall size of the Army and Marine Corps, but to ensuring that additional units are available to rotate into conflict zones. Some Army units sent overseas recently have been deployed at less than full strength.

As lengthy, multiple combat tours place U.S. forces under enormous stress, the willingness of young people to enlist has surprised even military leaders, experts said.

The military is suffering "strains that are tragic in personal lives, but institutionally the ground forces have held together and are not broken. They are even recovering a little bit as we speak," said Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Still, it is difficult to predict how much stress the volunteer military can take as it navigates uncharted waters, experts said.

"There is no way to tell at what point the Army will break in the sense of mass desertion, or people unwilling to stay in, or not meeting recruiting quotas," O'Hanlon said.

Overall, the Defense Department brought in 168,900 active-duty troops, or 103 percent of the goal for the fiscal year, officials said. It reached 104 percent of the goal for recruitment of National Guard and reserve forces.

The quality of recruits also improved, with about 95 percent reporting that they had received high school diplomas; last year, 83 percent of the Army's active-duty recruits had diplomas, short of the goal of 90 percent. The active-duty Army this year admitted only 1.5 percent of recruits who scored in the lowest acceptable category on the standard qualification test; in recent years, that figure had reached nearly 4 percent.

Carr said strong recruitment was driven by economic conditions that have made civilian jobs scarce, along with other factors such as pay increases and investment in recruiting budgets.

The recession "was a force," Carr said, and, "given the unemployment that we had not directly forecast, allowed us to be for much of the year in a very favorable position."

Historically, there has been a strong correlation between rising unemployment and increases in "high quality" enlistments, according to Curt Gilroy, the Pentagon's director of accession policy.

Carr said the Defense Department spent about $10,000 on advertising, marketing, recruiters and other budget items per recruit, with the Army spending more than double that, at $22,000.

"The unemployment . . . left us with more dollars per recruit than proved to be minimally necessary," he said.

Carr also credited hefty enlistment bonuses for the military's success, saying 40 percent of recruits received an average bonus of $14,000, compared with $12,000 on average in 2008. The size of the bonus varied by service, with the Army, which has the toughest mission, offering more.

Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell, head of the Army's recruiting command, said one factor in its success was putting a large number of recruiters on the streets.

"I think the most important thing that helps us with success, whether you're talking money, resources, advertising, is having the right number of recruiters, soldiers on the ground," he said.

In recent years, military officials cited the intensity of the fighting in Iraq as dampening interest in military service among 17-to-24-year-olds and, in particular, lessening the support of parents and other influential adults. But Pentagon officials said earlier this year that the declining violence in Iraq had made young people more willing to sign up.

Carr said that given the success this year, the Pentagon is cutting its $5 billion recruiting budget by 11 percent for next year.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/13/AR2009101303539_pf.html
 
#2
the end of the article seems to suggest that civvie people think operations have slowed down or decreased in intensity but i will guess that the recession is the main factor for the increased uptake of applicants. britains experienced similar I believe.
 
#3
Toxicseagull said:
the end of the article seems to suggest that civvie people think operations have slowed down or decreased in intensity but i will guess that the recession is the main factor for the increased uptake of applicants. britains experienced similar I believe.
Spot on
 
#4
ROTC enrollments have doubled over last year according to the college newspaper here.
 
#5
crabtastic said:
ROTC enrollments have doubled over last year according to the college newspaper here.
That is the situation at the large university where I teach with Army and Air Force ROTC doing well. I wonder how much of it is due to the economy however?
 
#6
It has to be said that the recruiting campaigns of the Army, Navy and particularly the Marine Corps are as slick as the GI Bill and other remunerations are generous. I suspect that recession certainly plays a part as does the drawing-down in Iraq. It will be interesting to gauge US public opinion if casualties in Afghanistan continue along the tragic path of the last couple of days.
 
#7
It can not be a useful situation to be losing trained J.N.C.O.'s and Junior Officers,even if recruitment is high.A soldier who goes in just to have a job is almost an economic refugee rather than a true volunteer.While the reality is that the need for a wage has always helped to bring them to the recruiters door it has generally been other,often less realistic desires that have made them stay.It has often also been remarked that it is easier to get men to go to war than go back to it.Given that very few specialisms in today's military can be described as simple this is cause for review rather then contentment.
 
#8
hairymonster1006 said:
It has to be said that the recruiting campaigns of the Army, Navy and particularly the Marine Corps are as slick as the GI Bill and other remunerations are generous. I suspect that recession certainly plays a part as does the drawing-down in Iraq. It will be interesting to gauge US public opinion if casualties in Afghanistan continue along the tragic path of the last couple of days.
In talking with a friend still on active duty as a Marine recruiter, he says there is a perceptible uptick in the number of young people coming in to discuss enlisting after such mass casualty incidents. He also says they are having to queue prospects up due to the numbers they are getting. Our local marine officer recruiter says he will fill his FY2010 (starting 1 October) quota (SE region of the US) by the end of CY2009.
 
#9
kangorrilapig said:
It can not be a useful situation to be losing trained J.N.C.O.'s and Junior Officers,even if recruitment is high.A soldier who goes in just to have a job is almost an economic refugee rather than a true volunteer.While the reality is that the need for a wage has always helped to bring them to the recruiters door it has generally been other,often less realistic desires that have made them stay.It has often also been remarked that it is easier to get men to go to war than go back to it.Given that very few specialisms in today's military can be described as simple this is cause for review rather then contentment.
Fortunately, at least for now, the "buyer's market" the military finds itself in allows it to still be fairly selective (in terms of entry level test scores and high school graduation) and demanding in terms of basic training. Even more important, the more selective units (Army 10th Mountain, 101st, 82d Abn, SF, Marines) that tend to send the highest percentage of troops for Afghanistan, are even more demanding so as to cull out those who are merely economic refugees.
 

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