The Numbers Game:

Speaking with defense reporters the morning after President Bush’s Iraq strategy address, US Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Gen. William Wallace said the Army will need new recruiting and training capabilities to handle the upcoming increase in end strength. (The Army is to grow by 7,000 a year until it reaches 547,000.) Wallace spoke with reporters before Defense Secretary Robert Gates formally announced the force expansion, but said TRADOC had “contingencies” on the books for any ordered increase in end strength. He acknowledged that the challenge is significant, adding that the Army had just completed a very comprehensive batch of market research into the demographic of likely 17- to 24-year old recruits. “Seventy-three percent of them are not qualified to enter the Army,” he said, citing obesity as the main culprit. Wallace said the Army is using tools such as waivers for borderline recruits—those who shape up after going through the rigors of basic training—but maintained that its core standards have not changed.