Political Gateway – 2006-01-20 23:58:34
WASHINGTON, DC (January 18, 2006) — The US Army said Wednesday it has raised its maximum enlistment age from 35 to 40 years old and is doubling signing up bonuses to a high of 40,000 dollars.
The measures are the latest in a series of steps the army has taken over the past year to offset a slump in recruiting as it faces ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The army failed to hit its recruiting goal of 80,000 new recruits in fiscal 2005. Recruiting figures have since improved but the the war in Iraq has made it difficult to meet the demand for fresh soldiers.
Army Secretary Francis Harvey, however, denied charges that the army is a “broken force,” telling reporters it has met its recruiting goals in the last seven months with the help of bonuses and other incentives.
But he acknowledged that recruiting remains “a month-to-month thing”.
“As I said, the rest of the year looks promising. But we’re certainly not going to sit on our laurels,” he said.
Raising the maximum age for enlistments “expands the recruiting pool, provides motivated individuals an opportunity to serve, and strengthens the readiness of army units,” the army said in a statement.
The army is raising the maximum cash enlistment bonuses to 40,000 dollars for the active duty army, and 20,000 dollars for the army reserve, doubling the current maximums.
Older recruits are entitled to the same signing bonuses as younger ones, the army said.
“Experience has shown that older recruits who can meet the physical demands of military service generally make excellent soldiers based on their maturity, motivation, loyalty, and patriotism,” the army said.