August 23, 2005

Ralph Peters' Magical Mystery Recruiting Tour

Look at many center-right blogs—Pardon My English, Blogs for Bush, Say Anything, Common Sense and Wonder, Captain's Quarters, Powerline, Michelle Malkin, and Instapundit among others—and you'll see a bunch of people very happy to report that the Army, Army Reserves,and National Guard are exceeding their recruiting goals virtually across the board, from new enlistments to re-enlistments. I, too, was thrilled to hear the news.

To listen to Ralph Peters of the New York Post, you would think things are great with U.S. Army recruiting efforts.

When the Army attempted to explain that enlistments are cyclical and numbers dip at certain times of the year, the media ignored it. All that mattered was the wonderful news that the Army couldn't find enough soldiers. We were warned, in oh-so-solemn tones, that our military was headed for a train wreck.

Now, as the fiscal year nears an end, the Army's numbers look great. Especially in combat units and Iraq, soldiers are re-enlisting at record levels. And you don't hear a whisper about it from the "mainstream media."

Let's look at the numbers, which offer a different picture of patriotism than the editorial pages do.

Every one of the Army's 10 divisions — its key combat organizations — has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the year to date. Those with the most intense experience in Iraq have the best rates. The 1st Cavalry Division is at 136 percent of its target, the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent.

Among separate combat brigades, the figures are even more startling, with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division at 178 percent of its goal and the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Mech right behind at 174 percent of its re-enlistment target.

This is unprecedented in wartime. Even in World War II, we needed the draft. Where are the headlines?

Here is a headline for you, Mr. Peters:

General: Army to Miss Recruiting Goals in '05

"We're gonna fall short of our recruiting goal this year. We know that,” Lovelace told FOX News. “We're putting in place mitigation plans to begin to address it in '06."

Military officials will not go into specifics about the numbers of new recruits signing up for Army duty.


The Army National Guard, which has been a key part of the the U.S. force in Iraq, missed its recruiting goal for at least the ninth straight month in June and is nearly 19,000 soldiers below its authorized strength, military officials said last month.

In total, the Army Guard has about 331,000 soldiers, 94.5 percent of its authorized strength of 350,000, officials said.

That isn't all. The Stars & Stripes is reporting that:

Although the Army met its July recruiting goal, it is short of its target for the year by about 7,200 recruits, or 13 percent, according to figures released by the Defense Department.
I'd suggest that Mr. Peters provide some credible sourcing and rational explanations very quickly. I want to believe in my sources becuase they are accurate, not just because they are telling me what I would like to hear.

Update: Accordingto NRO,Peters seems to be the victim of "a bureaucratic mix-up." Yeah, like anyone would buy that...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 23, 2005 05:40 PM | TrackBack

Apples and oranges. Re-enlistments and new enlistments.

Re-ups are above projected for active branches, especially among those who have been to Afghanistan or Iraq. However, the Army and all reserve components except Marine Reserve are having repeated problems meeting new recruit quotas. Part of this is understandable, as a large portion of new recruits for the reserve components are prior service personnel coming off of active duty who, as Peters shows, aren't coming off of active duty in the numbers expected.

Posted by: Gunner at August 23, 2005 06:43 PM

Apples and oranges. Re-enlistments and new enlistments.

Not quite,Gunner. Peters said, "Locked in a difficult war, the U.S. Army is exceeding its re-enlistment and first-time enlistment goals."

Later he says, " What about first-time enlistment rates, since that was the issue last spring? The Army is running at 108 percent of its needs. Guess not every young American despises his or her country and our president.

The Army Reserve is a tougher sell, given that it takes men and women away from their families and careers on short notice. Well, Reserve recruitment stands at 102 percent of requirements."

He's comparing apples and apples. I just want to know which fruit stand he's shopping at.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 23, 2005 06:59 PM

Could also be a confusion of Monthly and Year-to-Date numbers...monthly, for July, the Army hit 109% of goal for new enlisments..Year-to-Date, the Army hit 89% of goal for new, overperformed in July, underperformed for Year-to-Date, thus both the good General and Peters are correct.

Given, however, the greatly over-goal re-up rate, I think that we'll probably find that at the end of the year the Army has the total number of active personnel they were hoping to have.

Reserves are suffering...but as you point out, Reserves are mostly people coming off active...those who would get out and stay in active reserves seem to be staying in...

Posted by: Mark Noonan at August 23, 2005 08:50 PM

Look at it how you want but Peters is wrong. He could have very easily gotten the correct information from looking at a DOD press release at Who knows where he got his numbers but it's very shoddy journalism and it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. If he wants to rip the media for giving inaccurate inforation, the least he could do is provide some himself. What happens to his credibility now? If someone on the "other side" of the debate had published blatantly false information, he would be assailing their credibility. By the way, his apology was weak as well. He doesn't offer an explanation beyond a "bureaucratic mix up" and he quickly adjusts fire to focus on the patriotism of the reenlistees. Makes you realize that people on both sides of the debate will paint the numbers however they wish. FYI- I'm a soldier who is sick of seeing liberals and conservatives paint the numbers for their own argument's sake.

Posted by: Pallazzo at August 30, 2005 04:53 PM