Soft Economy Aids Army Recruiting Effort

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Sun Sep 21 19:22:44 MDT 2003

Soft Economy Aids Army Recruiting Effort

FORT KNOX, Ky., Sept. 16 -- The slumping American economy has proved
to be a huge boon to the Army's efforts to recruit the 100,000
enlisted soldiers it says it needs this year to fill its active-duty
and reserve ranks, senior Army officials say, so far relieving
concerns that the turmoil in Iraq could crimp new enlistments.

All the armed services say they will meet or exceed their recruiting
goals for the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30. But many military
personnel experts say the Army's efforts are most vulnerable over time
because the Army recruits more active-duty and Reserve troops than all
the other services combined -- 73,800 active-duty and 26,400 Reserve
soldiers this year -- and it is now fielding about 90 percent of the
180,000 troops in Iraq and Kuwait.

"That's the driver, the economy," said Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle,
the head of the Army Recruiting Command here, adding that the chaotic
conditions in Iraq have yet to hurt recruiting.

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