WASHINGTON The U.S. military has met or exceeded most of its troop recruitment and retention goals for the present fiscal year through the end of May, the Department of Defense said on Tuesday.
Defense officials say they are confident the services will achieve their goals for the entire fiscal year ending in September.
The active components of the Navy, Marine Corps, and the Air Force achieved 100 percent of their recruitment goals. The Army exceeded its goals by two percent, a statement said.
Among the reserve elements, all but the Air Force Reserve, which achieved 98 percent of its goals, met or exceeded their recruitment expectations.
The Army and Marine Corps Reserve beat their goals by 11 and 10 percent respectively.
According to a Marine Corps spokesman, since fiscal year 2005, the Marine Corps has recruited an average of 38,500 Marines per year.
"For more than a decade, we have met or exceeded our annual missions," Major John Caldwell told Reuters in an email, saying the Marine Corps' "well-led and disciplined" recruiting apparatus that employs about 3,100 canvassing recruiters throughout the country is one key to the high performance.
Even as demand for troops dwindles with the de-escalation of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there remains a large supply of willing service men and women.
Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez was quoted in a DOD statement as saying successful recruiting, high retention rates, and military downsizing have impacted the number of positions available to recruits and prior-service members alike.
(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)