WASHINGTON – The Army missed its recruiting goal in April, marking the third consecutive monthly shortfall.
Army spokesman Paul Boyce (search) said officials believe that increases in the number of recruiters, as well as new advertising and publicity efforts, will produce a surge in recruiting this summer so that the Army can meet its full-year goal of 80,000 recruits by Sept. 30.
As of April 30 the Army had achieved only 85 percent of its target for the first five months of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.
Boyce said big gains are expected this summer, and the Army is cautiously optimistic it will overcome the current recruiting deficit during a summer period that traditionally is a good period of recruiters.
Opinion surveys have indicated that a growing number of young people and their parents are wary of the Army's recruiting pitch at a time when soldiers in Iraq (search) are killed and wounded virtually every day.
Spring is typically one of the more difficult periods of the year for military recruiters.
Boyce said he did not have specific figures for April but it fell short of the monthly goal of 6,600. In March the Army had hoped to sign up 6,800 recruits but fell 32 percent short. That was slightly worse than in February, when a goal of 7,050 was missed by 27 percent.
Prior to missing the February target the Army had not fallen short of a monthly goal since May 2000.
The Army National Guard (search) and Army Reserve have had even more trouble recruiting. In March the Army Reserve signed up barely half the 1,600 soldiers it sought. It has not met a monthly goal since December 2004, and for the period from October 2004 through March it met only 82 percent of its goal.