FROM BBC news website... "US woos soldiers with early exit New recruiting posters and adverts may be appearing soon Faced with a drastic shortage of recruits, the US Army has widened a scheme to offer would-be soldiers the option to sign up for just 15 months. The minimum period a recruit can usually enlist for is four years. But in an attempt to help recruiters meet their quotas, the army has announced the 15-month active service programme will be launched nationwide. The recruiters have been struggling to meet targets as the Iraq war continues with ever-rising US casualties. Targets missed Chief of army recruiting Maj Gen Michael Rochelle admitted the military was encountering the "toughest recruiting climate we've ever faced in the all-volunteer army". The army managed only 68% of its target in March and 73% in February, and provisional figures for April also showed a shortfall, a Pentagon spokesman said. The last time a monthly quota was missed was in May 2000. Under the 15-month plan, which was previously run as a pilot scheme in a few recruiting stations, enlistees will continue to be able to sign up for an eight-year commitment. But after training, they will be able to serve for as little as 15 months on active duty followed by two years in the National Guard or Army Reserve. They can serve the remainder of their eight-year term in the active or inactive reserves or in programmes such as Americorps or the Peace Corps. Jim Martin, a retired army officer who teaches military culture at Bryn Mawr College, told USA Today parents and teachers "see the army as a real risk, a real danger" because of the war in Iraq. The war was a bigger factor than the length of service in finding recruits, he said. David Segal, a military personnel expert at the University of Maryland, told the newspaper that 15 months was often not enough time to learn complex tasks in a high-tech army. However, recruiters themselves are reportedly being boosted in numbers at the Pentagon and new advertising and other publicity efforts are also planned. Altogether, the army hopes to win 80,000 recruits over the US fiscal year, lasting from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005. " http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4544701.stm It seems that the US Army is having real recruiting problems, to be honest i see this as a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the current problem it faces. Surely if this proves to be real option then it will cause many new recruits to take a "suck it and see" mentality to the army. I consider that this idea is tantamount to voluntary conscription. 3 months training then "364 and a wake up" in an active theatre. This then surely creating the problems that the US Army faced post Vietnam through out its NCO corps, that was to an extent non existant. Something that took nearly 20 years to put right up till GW1. How will this strategy help the US to build up a modern force capable of dealing with the trials of peace keeping and fighting the "insurgant" when a number of its personel are on their first tour and straight from initial training where i doubt if they were truely taught how to fight the form of warfare they face. From what evidence i have seen from the conflict it appears that the US is fighting under the wrong doctrine and is slowly realising this. I also beleive that it fails to be a sufficiently flexible force to deal with the daily challenges it faces. Something i believe is due to its beleif in mission control ad the comander on the ground be unable to use his discretion and judgment. It would be interesting to hear others views, to see if iam talking utter nonsense. As a sideline "Amarillo" brilliant, what are peoples views of morale in the British Army at the moment after this in the press and the VC being awarded. Is recruiting a problem at the mo, it is not my area.