Army hits goals, but re­cruits drop; de­layed en­try falls to his­toric low

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Sara A. Carter

A top Army of­fi­cial said that al­though the ser­vice has met its over­all goals for re­cruit­ment this fis­cal year, the process has been dif­fi­cult and the num­ber of ad­vance re­cruits for next year is at his­toric lows.

Gen. William S. Wal­lace, head of the Army’s Train­ing and Doc­trine Com­mand at Fort Mon­roe, Va., told re­porters at the Pen­tagon on Oct. 31 that the Army’s de­layed-en­try pro­gram — geared mainly to al­low high school stu­dents older than 17 to fin­ish their de­gree while gain­ing rank — is at 7,000 re­cruits.

“Seven thou­sand de­layed en­try is his­tor­i­cally the low­est de­layed-en­try pool that we’ve had [. . . ] since the start of the vol­un­teer Army,” Gen. Wal­lace said. “So that is of con­cern to us be­cause the de­layed-en­try pro­gram gives us guar­an­teed en­lis­tees to meet our goal through­out the year.”

Gen. Wal­lace said that de­spite the drop in re­cruit­ment lev­els, the U.S. Army reached its over­all goal for the 2006-07 fis­cal year with 80,410 new sol­diers.

Last year, the Army re­cruited al­most 11,000 new sol­diers through the de­layed-en­try pro­gram. In 2005, those re­cruit­ment num­bers were at 9,600, Gen. Wal­lace added.

“That’s not to sug­gest we won’t meet our goals, but it’s go­ing to be an­other tough re­cruit­ing year,” he said. “We’re up to task, I be­lieve, with the con­tin­ued sup­port of Congress and the in­cen­tives.”

Af­ter hav­ing met its goals, the Army stopped count­ing re­cruits on Sept. 29, two weeks later than it did last year, Gen. Wal­lace said.

Another­chal­lenge­fac­ingth­eArmy is the sig­nif­i­cant loss of cap­tains and ma­jors, many of whom have had nu­mer­ous tours of du­ties to com­bat zones and long sep­a­ra­tions from their fam­i­lies. Gen. Wal­lace called the loss num­ber among th­ese of­fi­cer ranks a se­ri­ous con­cern that his com­mand is ad­dress­ing.

This year, the short­age of cap­tains and ma­jors is re­port­edly near­ing 3,000. The Army be­gan of­fer­ing bonuses of up to $35,000 if th­ese of­fi­cer­sagree­tore­main­on­du­ty­foranad- di­tional three years. Other in­cen­tives in­clude mone­tary as­sis­tance with grad­u­ate school and an as­sign­ment of choice.

New re­cruits will face an ex­tra week of ba­sic train­ing. Be­gin­ning Nov. 2, ba­sic com­bat train­ing will ex­pand from nine to 10 weeks, in a pilot pro­gram to run un­til the end of March. Af­ter that, the Army will re­sume nine-week ba­sic com­bat train­ing for the rest of the fis­cal year. In 2009, the Army will “ex­clu­sively” adopt the 10-week ba­sic train­ing pro­gram, Gen. Wal­lace said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.