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Pentagon delays release of May recruiting data

Rummy won’t be laughing when the recruiting numbers finally come out.

It’s time for all those young Republicans out there to step up to the plate, since the it’s looking desperate enough to keep the lid on the declining numbers (paging whining, chickenhawks columnists like Jonah Goldberg):

* Regular Army — recruiting goals down 3 months in a row, short by 42 percent in April

* The Army was 16 percent behind its year-to-date target entering May. They need 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005 (by Sept. 30).

* The Marine Corps — off target for signing up new recruits four straight months in a row and 2 percent behind its year-to-date goal (the Marines have historically never had trouble). It has a target of 38,195 recruits this FY.

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. [PRE-DAMAGE CONTROL.]

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.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding