Army recruiters just finished a successful 2006 fiscal year and the Pentagon announced it exceeded its recruiting goals by about 400 people during the last four months of their effort.
The army continues to look to new ways to attract soldiers but they're competing with a growing American economy. When the economy is strong, fewer people enlist, army recruiters at the Yakima station said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, CBS news reported in 2005 that many Americans don't want to join the military because they're afraid of the combat conditions in Iraq. On New Years Day the death toll in the Iraq war reached three thousand.
In hopes they can maintain enlistment numbers, recruiters are no longer simply telling prospective soldiers about the advantages of joining the military. Instead, the army is taking a more active role to make sure new soldiers make a smooth transition from army life to civilian life once they serve their time.
New recruits leaving the Yakima office on Wednesday said they're buying into the army's promise; they're hoping the military will provide them the opportunity to become doctors and construction workers, among jobs.
While recruiters attempt to find the 85,000 soldiers needed to meet their goal this fiscal year, they're also waiting to see how a proposal to increase troop levels will change their strategies. President Bush announced in December that he intends to expand the size of the army in the coming months and years, but the Pentagon has not said how the increase will affect recruiters' day-to-day responsibilities.