Where have all the soldiers gone?

As the fiscal year comes to a close, the Army comes face to face with its biggest recruiting gap in 25 years.

Published September 30, 2005 4:50PM (EDT)

Month after month, as the Army missed its recruiting targets this year, Pentagon officials expressed confidence that the Army would get a summer surge of recruits and meet its goal of signing up 80,000 new soldiers by the time the fiscal year ended.

It didn't happen.

While the final numbers aren't in yet, the Associated Press says that the year ending today will be the worst for Army recruiting in more than 25 years. The Army will be able to claim approximately 73,000 new recruits for the year, which is 7,000 recruits below its target -- the biggest gap, in sheer numbers and in percentage terms, since 1979.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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