US Army faces recruiting problems

From the BBC:

US recruitment hit by Iraq effect

By Clive Myrie
BBC News, Washington

Senior commanders in the US military admit they have an uphill task if they're to meet their recruitment targets this year.

There was a seasonal upward trend last month but, if it continues to recruit at the current pace, the US army will miss its annual goal by thousands at a time when the country is at war.

Sergeant Harold Ziegler doesn't look like an army recruiter, but don't be fooled.

A moment of people's time is what he needs - the blue shirt and chinos less likely to scare people off even before he's opened his mouth.

In uniform, recruiting takes on a different edge.

In this time of war for a growing number of Americans, fatigues symbolise just one thing - service in Iraq.

"Because I am a combat vet myself - I've been over to Afghanistan and Iraq - I am actually able to relate to them on a more personal level about what's actually going on over there," Sgt Ziegler says.

"Not just the negative view - what you see on TV sometimes - but also the positive things as well, the elections, building schools, helping people out."

But the face of Iraq that most people see are the images of a bloody war which is sapping the will of a nation to bolster the ranks of its all-volunteer army.

'Abuse of system'

Lt Colonel James Carafano, a military expert, said: "We've had to try to recruit people to an all-volunteer force while there are still active operations going on - people actually getting shot at for this length of time - that is kind of what is new."

This year US army boot camps have been less than half full and some recruiters struggling to meet their quotas have taken matters into their own hands.

Take the example of one enterprising student in rural Colorado who wanted to see how far the military would go to sign him up.

As part of a school project David McSwain made up two stories for his recruiter: First that he'd failed high school, and second, that he had a problem with drugs.

A friend secretly filmed the recruiter taking David to a local store to buy a detox kit to pass the army's drugs test.

He was even told how to get a fake high school diploma on the internet.

The army is investigating the case and hundreds of others involving possible abuses by recruiters.

It is hoped bigger signing on fees and shorter tours of duty might lure more to the service.

But the reality is army now believes it will miss its recruiting goals for this year, the first time that's happened since 1999.

There's talk of a draft but it's not something the president is considering - at least for now.
The story with pictures is here.

It's good to see that the US has the same gutless spiteful journos that we have. Apart from that, do our cousins have any views on this? Media hype, or a real problem?
Recruiting is an issue, but its not as bad as the media wants to portray. Re-enlistments are at record levels particularly with combat troops. Recruiting for combat MOS' hasnt fallen off either. The problem is recruiting for combat service/ support MOS'. Bonus' have alot to do with retention. If a soldier re-enlists in a combat zone their bonus is tax free. The Army wants to give a referal bonus' of $1000 [might go to $2500] for each recruit a soldier gets to join [they must complete their training].

Latest Threads