Two years after the invasion of Iraq, the number of young American men and women volunteering to serve in the U.S. military is declining.
At a Senate hearing this week, the Army's vice chief of staff, General Richard Cody, said falling numbers are a concern.
The Army National Guard missed its goal of recruiting 56,000 new soldiers last year, and the Marine Corps failed to reach its enlistment goal for the first time in almost a decade. This year, the active-duty Army is 6 percent below its (month-by-month) recruitment goals, and the Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and Navy Reserve also are falling to meet their recruitment targets (for 2005).
The U.S. military has increased incentives for young people entering military service, as well as for soldiers who extend their tours of duty. New Army recruits can earn college scholarships of up to 70,000 dollars, and experienced special-forces soldiers are being offered re-enlistment bonuses of up to 150,000 dollars.