Army’s Ability to Attract African-American Soldiers Plummets

Wall Street Journal

Army’s Ability to Attract African-American Soldiers Plummets

By CHRISTOPHER COOPER
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 7, 2004; Page B1

The U.S. Army’s ability to attract African-American soldiers has plummeted recently, a trend that threatens to place further strains on a military already stretched by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blacks attracted to the force numbered 12,103, or 15.6% of the total enlistment pool, in the year ended Sept. 30, down from a peak of 16,695, or 21% of recruits, in fiscal 2002, statistics gathered by the Army’s recruiting command show. The timing of the drop in the share of black recruits roughly corresponds with the mass movement of troops to the Middle East and the outbreak of the Iraq war. Figures for the Army Reserve show a similar, albeit more dramatic, drop — of about 27% for the same period.

By contrast, the percentage of white recruits has held relatively steady. White enlistees made up 65.2%, or 50,586, of the recruiting pool in fiscal 2004 and 62.7%, or 49,846, of recruits in fiscal 2002.

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