Army Meets February Recruiting Goals, But Remains Behind 2005 Pace

The Army said Friday it achieved its recruiting goal for February, although it remains behind the pace of a disappointing 2005 recruiting year in which it missed its full-year target for the first time since 1999.

The Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force, which have had fewer recruiting problems than the Army, also met their goals in February.

The active-duty Army, which is offering a wider array of financial incentives for potential recruits and has put thousands more recruiters on the street, said it attracted 6,114 enlistees last month, compared to its goal of 6,000.

The Army National Guard met its February goal but the Army Reserve fell slightly short.

The recruiting effort is vitally important to the Army at a time when it is stretched thin by the wars and Iraq and Afghanistan. The pace of recruiting affects the speed at which the Army can accomplish the reorganization of its combat forces that has been underway for more than a year.

In February 2005 the active Army missed its target by almost 2,000 soldiers — the first of four consecutive months in it fell short. It got back on track last June and has not missed a monthly target since then.

Thus far in the recruiting year that began last Oct. 1, the Army has attracted 25,973 new recruits. That is more than the target number set for the period but fewer than the 27,440 soldiers recruited in the same period a year earlier.

The Army's goal for the 2006 recruiting year ending Sept. 30 is 80,000 new soldiers. Thus it will have to sign up another 54,027 in the coming seven months — an average of more than 7,700 a month — to meet the 80,000 goal.

Summer is typically the strongest recruiting period.

In the 2005 recruiting year the Army had the same 80,000 goal but ended up with 73,373.