Sunday, September 21, 2003

Method to his madness?

We need troops, but morale is low. How do we keep up recruitment levels? That's right, keep the economy in the toliet. Jobless recovery? Nah, we got your jobs right here!

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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