Army to Miss Recruitment Goal for March

The Army (search) expects to miss its recruiting goals again this month and next, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey (search) said Wednesday, and it is developing a new sales pitch that appeals to the patriotism of parents who have been reluctant to steer their children toward the Army.

"There is a forecast that we will not meet the monthly goal" for March and April, Harvey said at his first Pentagon news conference since becoming the Army's top civilian official last November.

In February the Army missed its monthly recruiting goal by 27 percent. That was the first time it had fallen short for any month since May 2000, and it underscored the difficulty the Army faces in signing up young men and women during time of war.

Harvey said he was not particularly concerned about monthly results, so long as the Army reaches its full-year target of enlisting 80,000 people. It has not missed its full-year goal since 1999.

"I'm clearly not going to give up," Harvey said. "At this stage we still have six months to go" before the recruiting year ends Sept. 30. "I've challenged our human resource people to get as innovative as they can. And even as we speak we've got a number of new ideas."

One of those is designed to persuade more parents to steer their children to the Army.

"We're going to appeal to patriotism," he said.

The Army already has taken other steps to improve recruiting results, including increasing the number of recruiters on the street by 33 percent and offering larger signup bonuses.