Attrition: U.S. Army Winning at Recruiting

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December 13, 2005: The U.S. Army has been ordered by Congress to increase it's personnel strength from 492,000, to 512,000. But 2005 turned out be one of the worst years for recruiting in a long time. If what happened in 2005 is repeated over the next four years, army strength could decline to 454,000. Using bonuses, guaranteed assignments and other "recruit friendly" measures, most of the declines have been stopped, and the army has beat its recruiting goals for the last six months, but not by a lot.

Similar policies have been applied to getting troops to stay in for another four (or more) year enlistment, with some success. So far. But in a wartime environment, especially a politicized one, where the mass media plays up events (true or not) that discourage recruits, it's going to be a constant battle to find the quality recruits the army has been accustomed to for some two decades. Even in that department, the army has lowered its standards, letting in more lower quality recruits. These men and women can often do the job, but they require more training effort, and are more frequently headaches (bad behavior) for their commanders. The army, reminding Congress of the order to recruit more troops, is asking for more money to make it happen. Congress may, or may not, respond favorably.

 


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