For the first time in nearly two years, the Army has missed a monthly recruiting goal, but Army officials are still confident that the annual goal of 80,000 new recruits will be met by Oct. 1, which marks the end of the Army's recruiting year.
The monthly recruiting drop is the Army's first since 2005, when it fell 7,000 recruits short of its annual effort to enlist 80,000 new soldiers.
Since then, the Army has met its monthly recruiting goals for 23 consecutive months, despite the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Army Falls Short of Monthly Goal
For the month of May, Army recruiting came in at 93 percent of the monthly goal -- 5,101 new recruits joined the Army instead of the goal of 5,500 recruits.
Army officials are confident that despite this setback they will still achieve their annual recruiting goal.
"We are ahead of our year-to-date goal and we are going to make our yearly goal," says Army personnel spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty. "We are very confident. This is an anomaly. Babe Ruth didn't get a home run every at-bat."
Army Ahead of Last Year's Totals
Part of that confidence is due to the fact that Army recruiting is already 2,000 recruits ahead of where it was at this same time last year, equal to 105 percent of the year-to-date goal.
That's a reflection of how well recruiting has gone this year in previous months, as monthly goals have surpassed 100 percent.
"It tells a lot about the youth of America, who are enlisting in an all volunteer force in a protracted war. They get it," says Hilferty.
Summer Season, Incentives Boost Confidence
Another reason the Army's confident, the summer months have traditionally been the Army's best recruiting period.
According to Hilferty, "The summer is clearly our best recruiting season, but the summer goals are higher. I can't predict we will make every summer month goal, but we will make our year-long goal."
Another new incentive available to recruiters: offering more money to potential recruits.
The Army just recently boosted the amount given to new recruits as a signing bonus. New recruits will now get as much as $25,000 if they enlist for three years. The previous top amount had been $10,000.
Army recruits who decided to sign up for key military jobs could get even more money if they combine their recruitment bonus of $15,000 with additional money from the GI bill, up to $51,864, so they can attend college.
The offers are available for 45 Army jobs, ranging from pharmacists to fire support specialists.
While Army recruitment has been ahead of the curve this year, so has Army retention, as soldiers remain in the service despite the stress of overseas deployments. The Army is currently at 100 percent of its annual retention mission of 62,200
The Army National Guard also fell short of its monthly recruiting goal this month but is also at 100 percent of its annual recruiting.