RECRUITING PROBLEMS….Here’s the key paragraph in today’s Washington Post story about shortfalls in Army recruitment:

Violent, long deployments to Iraq and a sound job market at home have combined to reduce what the Army calls the “propensity to enlist” ? the percentage of young Americans willing to consider Army service ? which dropped from 11 percent last year to about 7 percent this year.

That’s a big drop. I assume that the vast majority of new recruits come from high school graduating classes, and a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the Army’s annual goal of 80,000 active-duty recruits amounts to about 3% of this year’s graduates. If only 7% are even willing to consider Army service, that means Army recruiters have to close the deal with a full half of their prospects. That’s a daunting close rate for any salesman.

Which might explain desperate tactics like this. The linked story is about Marine Corps recruiters, but you get the idea.