WASHINGTON – The Army surpassed its active-duty recruiting goal for August by more than 5 percent, using higher enlistment bonuses and additional recruiters to turn around an early summer slump that threatened the service’s fiscal year goal of 80,000 by the end of September.
Army data obtained by the Washington Post show that the Army recruited 10,128 new troops in August, 528 more than the monthly goal of 9,600. Last month’s recruiting total – aided by a new $20,000 “quick ship” bonus that spurs people to leave for basic training within 30 days – was the largest monthly total this fiscal year. The Army will now need to recruit about 8,000 people this month to meet its goal for the year.
Army officials declined to discuss the August numbers, pending an official Defense Department announcement that normally comes on the 10th of the month. Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, head of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday that he could not reveal the August total, saying only: “We had a very good month of August.”
It was good for the Army in part, Bostick said, because of the success of the quick-ship bonus, which has been available to almost all new recruits since July 25 and may have encouraged people who were “on the fence” about joining the Army to enlist in recent weeks. He said it is possible that the Army will extend the bonus.
According to Army recruiting data for late July and early August, the quick-ship bonus was extremely popular, with more than 90 percent of new recruits accepting the money in exchange for leaving their homes almost immediately.