What do National Guard recruiters do all day?

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USA Today reports that the National Guard is having trouble getting recruits, because potential service members seem to find the possibility of being shot, blown up, etc. to be a disincentive to joining up. That's not surprising, but in the middle of the article, there's something that is:
O'Ferrell and 4,100 other Army Guard recruiters across the country are facing their most daunting challenge since the Vietnam War, one that may define the limits of the Bush administration's use of Guard and reserve troops in the war on terrorism.

Last year, Army Guard recruiters fell nearly 7,000 short of their goal of 56,000 soldiers. This year, the Guard's recruiting goal is an even more ambitious 63,000 soldiers, in part to make up for the 2004 shortfall. But through January, four months into the recruiting year that began in October, the Guard had recruited just 12,821 new soldiers, almost 24% below its target for that period.

63,000 soldiers? 4,100 recruiters? That's 1.3 recruits per recruiter per month! Say that you only get 10% of the people you try for... that's still approximately 13 hrs/recruit. How does that work? Does the recruiter follow you around for hours at a time explaining the virtues of the National Guard? These guys must have some other job... what is it?

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3 Comments

Another way to look at it is to say that the average recuiter server for 2+ years. At a rate of 1+ recruits/month, this means that each recruiter leads to 24 recruits.

A 2400% return on your investment is not a bad return.

I think I saw something on television about this. The impression I got is that the recruiters spend a lot of time canvassing--going to schools, malls and other places where young men hang out, approaching them, and trying to get them to consider signing up. Obviously, their success rate per contact isn't going to be very high, but it's unclear if there's a better way to reach out to the target demographic--young, directionless men who are waiting to be told what to do.

Also, national guard is in a real hard position right now. Traditionally, a lot has been retiring/separating regular personnel, looking for "one weekend a month/two weeks a year/credit on military pension". But with it now being described as "two weeks my ass", that source has dried up substantially.

Additionally, with it being effectively the same commitment as the regular army these days, with worse equipment, less training, and less presigue, why join the guard when you can join the Marines instead?

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