Yahoo! News - Army Guard misses recruiting goal


"The Army National Guard has fallen significantly behind its recruiting goal one month into the military's new fiscal year, continuing a downward slide that began in 2003 and could make it harder for the Pentagon to find enough troops for the war in Iraq

In October, the Army Guard recruited 2,546 enlistees, more than 30% below its target of 3,675.

The numbers do not bode well for the Army Guard, which missed its 2004 recruiting target of 56,000 enlistees by nearly 7,000. This year, the 350,000-member Guard has an even larger goal of 65,000, in part to make up for last year.

The chief reason for the shortfall is a downturn in recruits with military experience, men and women who leave the active-duty Army but sign up for Guard duty that usually involves a weekend a month and two weeks during the summer.

In past years, these "prior service" soldiers accounted for about half of all Guard recruits. Now, however, many soldiers leaving active duty are reluctant to join because of the enormous new demands on America's part-time military, including active duty missions that can last up to 18 months.

The Army National Guard and Army Reserve are auxiliary forces that back up the active-duty military. Most troops serve part-time, but in the last three years the Pentagon has called up thousands for active-duty tours. Guard and Reserve soldiers now make up more than 40% of the 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq."


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