USA — Fiscal 2010 a Near-Record Year for Recruiting

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2010 — The mil­i­tary ser­vices had a ban­ner year for recruit­ing and reten­tion in fis­cal 2010, Defense Depart­ment offi­cials said here today.

The ser­vices met their over­all num­bers, and exceed­ed qual­i­ta­tive goals, said Clif­ford Stan­ley, under­sec­re­tary of defense for per­son­nel and readi­ness.

The Army had the high­est recruit­ing goal with 74,500 new sol­diers, and it recruit­ed 74,577. The Navy had a goal of 34,180 sailors and recruit­ed 34,140. The Marine Corps recruit­ed 28,041 young men and women on a goal of 28,000. The Air Force recruit­ed 28,493 air­men, top­ping a goal of 28,360.

All of the reserve com­po­nents made their fis­cal-year goals, with the excep­tion of the Army Nation­al Guard. The Army Guard inten­tion­al­ly missed its recruit­ing goal in order to stay with­in end-strength lim­its.

The ser­vices also set qual­i­ty records with 100 per­cent of the recruits in the Army and Marine Corps hav­ing a high school diplo­ma. In the Air Force, the per­cent­age with at least a high school diplo­ma was 99 per­cent and in the Navy, 98 per­cent.

How­ev­er, the ser­vices are not tak­ing this suc­cess for grant­ed, Stan­ley said.

“Recruit­ing is always going to be a chal­lenge,” he said. “It’s still a chal­lenge.”

While the high unem­ploy­ment rate has helped spur recruit­ing, it was not the biggest rea­son young men and women decid­ed to join the mil­i­tary, Stan­ley said.

“As we look at where we are right now in terms of the chal­lenges fac­ing us, it’s more to it than the econ­o­my,” he said. “To a per­son — serv­ing their nation, doing it with hon­or, being patri­ots — seems to be the recur­ring theme that comes up every time we look at and talk to those who are wear­ing a uni­form today, and we’re still proud to have that in our active and our reserve com­po­nents, and our Guard.”

Stan­ley said the propen­si­ty of Amer­i­cans to enlist is high­er than it has been in the past. Still, he said, there are dif­fi­cul­ties. Only three of every 10 Amer­i­cans in the prime recruit­ing group of 17 to 24 years of age are even qual­i­fied to enlist, he added. Many can­di­dates, he said, are dis­qual­i­fied for med­ical, edu­ca­tion­al or con­duct rea­sons. Also, he added, the mil­i­tary and pri­vate indus­tries are in com­pe­ti­tion for these prime recruits.

“We know that as the econ­o­my turns, our busi­ness will get a lit­tle tougher,” said Maj. Gen. Don­ald M. Camp­bell Jr., the com­man­der of Army Recruit­ing Com­mand. “But I believe if we set the con­di­tions now in the Army like we’re try­ing to do and focus on qual­i­ty of life, tak­ing care of our sol­diers and our fam­i­lies and focus­ing on those tools that allow them to recruit in dif­fi­cult envi­ron­ments, then we’ll be okay.

“But the bot­tom-line premise for all ser­vices,” Camp­bell con­tin­ued, “will be that three in 10 is the num­ber that we’re going to have to choose to look at in 17-to-24-year-olds.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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