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Army Recruitment On The Rocks

With the Army looking to expand its operation recruitment has become even more of a problem of late. April will mark the third straight month in which the Army has fallen short of its recruiting goals. In March the Army missed its goal by 32 percent which is worse than its 27 percent shortfall in February. Although the Army remains optimistic serious problems are emerging. The Army Reserve missed its recruiting goal for March by over 50 percent.

Speculation from recruiters indicates that the war in Iraq has made prospective soldiers wary of Army service. Interestingly, the Air Force and Navy are hitting their recruiting targets without issue. This raises strange parallels with the later Roman Empire when military manpower shortages forced the government to rely almost exclusively on ‘barbarian’ foederati rather than its previous levies of citizen-soldiers.

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Foederati by Brandon

Even if the Army isn’t able to turn around its recruiting woes, I don’t see them turning to foreign mercenaries. Wouldn’t it back off operations or even implement a draft before hiring "barbarian foederati"?

Let’s say they do decide to go the barbarian tribe subsidizing route, though – where would the Army find people willing to fight for the US for money?

The Army has taken yet more extreme measures to try and overcome its significant recruiting shortfalls. Now you can sign up for just 15 months. Yep, just 15 months. The normal three or four year enlistment may become a thing of the past if a new Army recruiting pilot program takes off. This action has been inspired by what the head of US Army Recruiting Command said is "the toughest recruiting climate ever faced by the all-volunteer Army."

I may not understand this fully, but 15 months of service is nothing as far as a unit is concerned. Perhaps the Army thinks that it can persuade these soldiers to stay in once they join, but this looks like an act of real desperation. This also will pose problems as the Army tries to “life-cycle,” meaning that soldiers become locked into a unit for something like 36 months.

Recruiting numbers don’t look any better this month…

Officials said Wednesday that although the Army will not release its numbers until Friday, it fell about 25 percent short of its target of signing up 6,700 recruits in May. The gap would have been even wider but for the fact that the military lowered the target by 1,350. CNN

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