Thursday, April 14, 2005

Secretary Rumsfeld Townhall Meeting in Kandahar, Afghanistan

I found this exchange in the SecDef's Town Hall in Kandahar, Afghanistan interesting.

QUESTION: Sir, Sergeant First Class Dimachio from the Island of Saipan.

My question is about shortfalls in recruiting personnel. Is there an issue? What is the plan to fix it?

RUMSFELD: Well, it was expected that we could see some softness in recruiting about close to a year ago, and as a result a large number of additional recruiters were put in place. Some additional incentives were put in place. And the work has been going forward.

There's a lag always when that occurs, but it is expected that most of the services will come very close to their targets by the end of the year.

One of the reasons for the shortfall, I'm told, is because retention has been so high. Interestingly, retention has been particularly high among folks who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
[Baar's emphasis] And if you think about it, it's the force, the existing force, the active force as they leave that become the pool for the Guard and the Reserve and it is in the Guard and the Reserve where the shortfall has occurred for the most part. So I think that what we'll find is as we go forward -- We also have done, I think it's 35 or 40 different things to reduce stress on the force and it is expected that that will also assist in improving the recruiting and retention figures. Thank you.

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