Bad economy helps military recruitment: Pentagon

WASHINGTON, October 14, 2008 (AFP) – The US economic crisis could well make life easier for US military recruiters, who have struggled in recent years to meet their services’ enlistment goals in a time of war.

“We do benefit when things look less positive in civil society,” said David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “That is a situation where more people are willing to give us a chance.”

The army and marines, in particular, have had to mount extraordinary efforts in recent years to attract fresh recruits at a time when many prospective candidates were put off by an unpopular war in Iraq in which more than 4,000 troops have lost their lives.

Despite the challenges, the military recruited more than 300,000 men and women in the fiscal year ending October 1, meeting or exceeding targets set by the individual services.

In all, 185,000 people signed up for active duty, and 140,000 for the reserves, according to the Pentagon.

“This is probably the strongest recruiting year we’ve had overall, taking all elements into account, since fiscal year 2004,” Chu told reporters Friday.

“So what difficult economic times give us, I think, is an opening to make our case to