Attrition: Strange Days for U.S. Army Recruiters

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September 16, 2007: All four branches of the U.S. military met their recruiting goals in August. The army, which has the hardest time recruiting, because of the war, exceeded its goals for two months in a row, after coming up a bit short in May and June. The army appears ready to meet its recruiting goal, of 80,000 new troops for the year. Reenlistment goals have also been met. The biggest problem recruiters have is not with anti-war activists (who get the most attention) but a booming economy. Since most (over 80 percent) of the jobs in the army have nothing to do with combat, recruiters are basically competing with the civilian job market. For the educated, energetic young people the army is seeking, there are often lots good jobs out there that don't require extended visits to places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recruiters have a much easier time with recent high school grads looking for some adventure, or feeling patriotic. These two factors bring in most of the recruits for combat units. Actually, it's been easier getting recruits for combat jobs, than for some technical ones.

 


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