The Pentagon on Wednesday postponed by more than a week the release of military recruiting figures for May, as the Army and Marine Corps struggle to attract new troops amid the Iraq war.
The military services had routinely provided most recruiting statistics for a given month on the first business day of the next month.
Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the May numbers for the active-duty and reserve components of the all-volunteer military will be released on June 10.
“Military recruiting is instrumental to our readiness and merits the earliest release of data. But at the same time, this information must be reasonably scrutinized and explained to the public, which deserves the fullest insight into military performance in this important area,” Krenke said.
Asked whether the move would simply delay the release of bad news, Krenke said, “That’s not necessarily true,” noting that “we expect the numbers to improve during the summer months.”
Military recruiters have said potential recruits and their parents were expressing wariness about enlisting during the Iraq war. They said improving civilian job opportunities also were affecting recruiting.
The regular Army missed its recruiting goals for three straight months entering May, falling short by a whopping 42 percent in April. The Army was 16 percent behind its year-to-date target entering May, with a goal of signing up 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005, which ends Sept. 30.
The Marine Corps missed its goal for signing up new recruits for four straight months entering May and was 2 percent behind its year-to-date goal. It hopes to sign up 38,195 recruits in fiscal 2005.