Saturday, June 14, 2008

Army Tells Army Guard to Stop Recruiting

After growing its ranks by nearly 30,000 troops in three years, the Army National Guard's recruiting effort for May fell short. But there's more to it than meets the eye, a National Guard Bureau official said today. "It's a factual statement, but not the whole story," said the official, who asked not be named. He said the Army sent a letter in April to Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, Army Guard director, asking him to hold his service at the 358,000 personnel. To do that, recruiting came to a stop in late May, leaving the service with 5,311 recruits for the month, 6 percent below the goal of 5,635. "It was not due to the fact that there were not people willing" to join, the official said. It was, instead, due to a period of unprecedented recruiting that pushed the Army Guard above its authorized strength.

The official noted the tremendous growth in the Army Guard recently, when it grew from 330,200 in August 2005 to its current level of 359,289. Of that final figure, 1,400 will transition to the active-component Army as part of a recruiting program, Active First, that lets recruits serve on active duty with a promise to join the Guard later. He said the Army Guard has for the first time out-recruited the active component so far this year. The Army Guard now hopes the halt in recruiting will not disrupt that success once it begins again. "As soon as you tell people you're full, they go somewhere else," he said. "We're exploring many options."

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