Nobody wants to die in Chimpy’s vanity war.
On Friday, the Army is expected to announce that it met only 75 percent of its recruiting goal for May, the fourth consecutive monthly shortfall in the number of new recruits sent to basic training. Just over 5,000 new recruits entered boot camp in May.
But the news could have appeared worse. Early last month, the Army, with no public notice, lowered its long-stated May goal to 6,700 recruits from 8,050. Compared with the original target, the Army achieved only 62.6 percent of its goal for the month.
The Pentagon has delayed until Friday the public release of May recruiting figures for all the armed services, a decision some military officials say is an effort to minimize what has become a drumbeat of bad news for the Army and the Marine Corps at the beginning of each month. Previously, each service, as well as the National Guard and the Reserve, released their monthly figures on different days at the start of each month, with each gaining some media attention.
The Army’s figures for May put the service about 8,300 soldiers behind its projected year-to-date number of enlistees sent to basic training by now. “The trend line is going against them,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
The Army has tried to reverse the trend by adding 1,000 recruiters since last September, starting a new advertising campaign, offering selected enlistment bonuses of more than $20,000 and pairing returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan with recruiters to attract soldiers.