EXCLUSIVE: Army Missed Recruiting Goal Again

ABC News' Jonathan Karl and Luis Martinez report: Already stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is having a hard time finding new recruits.  ABC News has learned the Army missed its recruiting goal in June for the second month in a row, falling 1,400 short or about 17 percent off the goal. It's the first time in more than two years that the Army has missed recruiting goals for two consecutive months.The figures are especially worrisome because the summer is traditionally the peak recruiting season.  Army officials are now worried that July and August will be difficult as well, raising the possibility that the Army will miss its annual goal of 80,000 new recruits for fiscal year 2007, which ends on September 30.  The Army has missed an annual recruiting goal only twice in the last decade -- in 1999 and 2005.

"It's a great challenge to maintain an all volunteer Army during a period of extended conflict," said one defense official.  "We've never really done it before."The Army will officially release its June recruiting figures on Tuesday, but Pentagon officials tell ABC News the numbers are similar to May, when the Army recruited only 93 percent of its goal of signing up 5500 new recruits.  The goal for June was 8,400.  The last time the Army missed back-to-back monthly goals was April and May 2005.  The numbers will only get more difficult in the months ahead; to meet its annual recruiting goal, the Army will need to sign up more than 30,000 new recruits over the next three months.

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