The Air National Guard finished the Fiscal 2007 recruiting year at the bottom of the totem pole, reaching 93 percent of its annual goal—two percentage points lower than the Army National Guard. However, Air Guard officials have not been overly concerned at lagging recruiting numbers because of continued strong retention. The active Air Force broke even for the year, and the Air Force Reserve bettered its goal for the seventh year in a row. While the services met, or nearly met, their recruiting goals for 2007, Pentagon officials noted some concern for 2008 and beyond as the Army and Marine Corps expand by 65,000 and 27,000, respectively. David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told Pentagon reporters Wednesday that the military must “work on this question of influencer attitudes.” He continued, “I think the big challenge to us is if influencer attitudes go south again in a major way, we will have trouble getting there.” And, the Army plans now to accelerate its growth by two years, from 2012 to 2010.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.