Watch the “Dark Side”

Recruiting is good across the board, according to the data for February, announced by the Pentagon Tuesday. The results have been basically the same—give or take a few recruits like seen in the previous month’s stats—since the economy began its nosedive. Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services military personnel panel, last week called the effect of the “new economic reality” on military recruiting “remarkable,” but she also noted a “dark side,” saying that recruiting and retention programs would become fair game for budget cutters. However, Curtis Gilroy, director of accessions policy, undersecretary for personnel and readiness, cautioned that military recruiting still faces challenges, including the continued propensity of influencers to disdain military service and a “declining pool of eligible and qualified young people,” many of whom are simply overweight. He asked the lawmakers to “move cautiously and deliberately” on any cuts to recruiting and retention dollars. The Air Force’s top personnel officer told the panel that although the service is meeting recruiting goals currently the active duty enlisted retention rate is below par. Lt. Gen. Richard Newton III also noted “a few pockets of concern” within certain active duty officer fields, like combat control and recovery, health care, and contracting.