For the first time since January, the Army met its monthly recruiting goal in June, but still faces what some senior Army officials say is a nearly insurmountable shortfall to meet the service's annual quota.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers, told a town-hall meeting at the Pentagon today that the Army had exceeded its June quota, but gave no details. Senior Army officials said in interviews earlier in the day that the Army had exceeded the goal of 5,650 recruits by about 500 people. The Army Reserve also made its first monthly quota since last December, the official said.Yayyy! Oh, wait. They've been lowering their goals for several months now...
Although the Army will not release its numbers until Friday, it fell about 25 percent short of its target of signing up 6,700 recruits in May, officials said Wednesday. The gap would have been even wider but for the fact that the target was lowered by 1,350. . . .
Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, spokesman for the Army's chief of personnel, said in an interview that despite the recent setbacks the Army remains cautiously optimistic that it will make up the lost ground this summer — traditionally the most fruitful period of the year for recruiters — and reach the full-year goal of 80,000 enlistees.
"One number matters: 80,000," Hilferty said. "The Army's fiscal 2005 goal was, is and remains 80,000 recruits."
Others, speaking privately, said the official optimism is sagging rapidly. They note that with only four months left in the budget year, the Army is at barely 50 percent of its goal. Recruiters would have to land more than 9,760 young men and women a month, on average, to reach the 80,000 target by the end of September.