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Army Recruiting in Virginia Bucks Nationwide Downturn

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January 23, 2009

Richmond – U.S. Army recruitment in Virginia continues to rise, and those candidates are of a higher quality than the year before. But an independent analysis of military data also shows that, nationwide, recruiting goals are short by at least 10,000, and many recruits lack high school diplomas and the desired test scores.

Suzanne Smith, research director for the National Priorities Project, wrote the report. She says that the Army's success in Virginia may a lot to do with that state's military tradition.

"The Army is having a little more success in that state. This could reflect the tradition of military service in Virginia and the location of the Pentagon."

Another factor is the economy; traditionally economic downturns see a rise in military enlistment. The U.S. Army spends hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and arcade games to attract potential recruits. Smith says that a Pentagon advisory group recently found the Department of Defense budget 'unsustainable' due to the rising costs of military personnel, health care and overhead. Analysts project a 60-billion increase in the 2010 defense budget, largely tied to increasing troop levels.

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA