Figures for this past month:
Air Force: 101%
Numbers for the Guard and Reserves aren’t quite as good, and the Army National Guard brought in only 86% of its goal. Year-to-date, the Army is still only at 86% of its goal (short 7,814), so there’s a lot more recruiting to be done to get back on track.
Retention numbers continue to exceed goals, though, and I think that’s a significant fact that is conveniently overlooked. Opponents of the war or the Bush administration point to the recruiting problems and claim that it’s a vote of no-confidence for the Bush Doctrine (such as it is). But if that’s the case, why do retention numbers continuously exceed goals? The men and women who are there seeing the doctrine in action are staying in the service. It’s the potential new recruits who are not signing on the dotted line.
It must be the Rightist bias in the media that’s getting to the civilians. (hat tip to Chuck Simmins)
UPDATE: Intel Dump has a good post on this, noting that the goals for June were lowered anyway. A number of folks are wondering why June goals are down when school’s out and recruiters should be raking in kids just out of high school. That’s a fair question. I tried to find historical June goals to see if targets normally increase in June compared to the months before, but I had no luck.
I noted the retention numbers and that I think this actually pertains to the reality of what’s going on as opposed to the perception of what’s going on. I don’t know how much Stop-Loss has boosted those numbers, and this was found in the comments of the Intel Dump post:
I think the wild card in this is retention. So far the numbers have held up, but I wonder how long its going to last. I have a bunch of first-term Iraq vets who have already told me that there is no way in hell that they’ll re-up. Most of them are 1-3 years into their first term so I’ll loose a whole crop of kids in the next couple years. I’m still getting a steady trickle of new soldiers, but its slacked off since the post-Sept 11th surge.
I think there is a retention bubble still waiting to break. Lots of soldiers are choosing to re-up, but I wonder how much that has to do with the war and not wanting to let your buddies down or leave the job unfinished. What happens in a couple years when things (hopefully) settle down some? Will you see a mass exodus of second term soldiers who feel like they’ve done their duty? I’m begining to see it in my unit.
Also, a commenter there wonders where we can find previous years’ numbers for comparison. I think this is needed before we start ripping in to June for failing to get just-graduated recruits.