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Army proceeding cautiously with drawdown

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POSTED: January 22, 2014 9:41 a.m.

As the Army begins to draw down the overall size of its active-duty force, recruiting goals are getting smaller, but not drastically so, according to Lt. Col. Mary J. Constantino, Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.
“The Army’s recruiting mission is determined by the Department of the Army G-1 (personnel), who looks at various factors to determine how many soldiers we need to recruit each year,” Constantino said. “The mission changes every year based on the Army’s holistic assessment of its manpower needs.”
Previous Department of Defense news releases noted the Army will achieve much of its yearly drawdown numbers through simple attrition, such as retirement or end-of-service contracts, as well as fewer recruits.
Constantino admitted, however, she could not answer many of the questions posed by the Courier, referring them instead to the Department of the Army G-1. The Army’s human-resources office then responded via the Department of the Army public affairs regarding questions about recruiting goals and the need to balance overall numbers with recruiting men and women with particular skill sets.
Paul D. Prince, deputy director of public affairs, acknowledged that the Army continues to make “incremental, systematic and yet deliberate” efforts to maintain force readiness, manage the talent it has and keep the Army strong as it works to meet a congressionally-mandated end-strength by fiscal year 2017.
“Though the Army will decrease its overall size, we will continue recruiting America’s best-qualified men and women,” Prince said. “The Army’s accession mission is established by the Army’s deputy chief of staff G-1. We expect to access about 57,000 new enlisted soldiers in the regular Army in (fiscal year) 2014. We accessed 60,489 in (fiscal year) 2012.”
Prince noted that the Army has a budget approved for FY14, but the affiliated appropriations bill has not yet been passed. He said Army leaders are confident the Army will reach its recruiting goals for this year. FY13 data reported that the active Army achieved 101.01 percent of last year’s recruiting mission.
Prince said the Army is decreasing in size by about 20,000 soldiers a year in order to achieve the 490,000 end-strength dictated by the Pentagon. Also, the Army is prepared to make additional adjustments as required by the Budget Control Act. Prince said the active Army’s end-strength right now is about 528,000, and the Army is manned “pretty well” across the force.
“As we continue balancing readiness and the needs of a smaller force, there are some emerging skills we have to develop, such as cyber skills,” he said. “Ultimately, Army senior leaders acknowledge we do not want to draw down the force too fast to negatively impact the mission.”
Constantino said the enlistment requirements are high. In order to enlist in today’s Army, the recruit has to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, 17-36 years old, healthy, in good physical condition and moral standing, and have a high-school diploma or equivalent.
Other qualifications include being able to pass a battery of multiple-aptitude tests, like the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or special tests like a linguistic test for certain military occupational specialties. She added that recruiters conduct background checks with law enforcement for any possible criminal charges or activities that would exclude him or her from enlisting.
Recruiters also screen each applicant to ensure he or she is in compliance with the Army’s tattoo policy.
“That policy states that tattoos or brands that are indecent, sexist or racist are not authorized on any location of the body,” she said, noting these restrictions include gang-related symbols. “Tattoos or brands on the head, face or neck are also prohibited.”

 

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