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Active-duty Army hit July recruiting target; Guard, Reserve fell short


WASHINGTON - The active-duty Army met its recruiting goal in July, but its reserve component and the Army National Guard again failed to reach their targets, the Pentagon reported yesterday.

With two months to go, the Army is unlikely to reach its goal of signing up 80,000 recruits by the time the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

As of July 31, the active-duty Army had enlisted 55,207 of the 62,385 recruits it had sought for the fiscal year's first 10 months.

Summer, with potential recruits finishing high school and looking forward to careers or ways to finance college, is traditionally fruitful for recruiting, but the Army is unlikely to sign up the nearly 25,000 recruits it needs to meet its goal.

"We will likely miss recruiting missions for all three components," said Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, the Army's deputy chief of staff.

In testimony predicting the July shortfall before the House Armed Services Committee last month, Undersecretary of Defense David Chu said the shortfall resulted partly from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Recruiters report that there is a reduced propensity to join the military among today's youth," he said. "Due to the realities of war, there is less encouragement today from parents, teachers and other influencers to join."

The active-duty Army had set a target of 7,450 recruits for last month and signed up 8,085, meeting its goal for the second month in a row after six months of failing to do so.

The Marine Corps and the Air Force also exceeded their goals. The Navy fell 41 recruits short of its goal of 4,780.

The Army Reserve and the Army National Guard fell far short of their goals. The July total for the Guard fell 1,208 short of its monthly target of 5,920, and the Army Reserve fell 614 short of its goal of 2,585 recruits.

The Navy Reserve signed up 791 of the 1,477 recruits it had sought, and the Air National Guard 721 of the 827 it had hoped to enlist. The Marine Corps and the Air Force reserves met their quotas in July.

For the 10 months that ended July 31, the Army National Guard was 11,608 recruits, or 33 percent, short of its target, and the Army Reserve missed its goal by 5,376, or 20 percent.

Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Carr attributed the successes the military had last month to new high school graduates, increased bonuses and other enlistment incentives, and the recent assignment of more recruiters to the field.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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