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Shelton Talks to Recruiters About Increasing Military's Numbers

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RALEIGH — Although the most powerful in the world, the U.S. military faces some tough problems. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman and North Carolina nativeGen. Hugh Sheltonsays recruiting is tougher than ever.

U.S. military power was at a high duringOperation Desert Storm. As the air war ended and ground action began, recruiting offices at home were full.

Monday, Shelton talked with recruiters in Raleigh about the challenge.

Shelton says better pay, educational opportunities and retirement, medical and housing benefits are critical. Recruiting levels are down, and many recruit-age men and women have no interest in serving.

"Nobody told me much about it. It wasn't really an option for me," explainedN.C. Statejunior Jamie Mitchel.

"I just saw a lot more opportunity, not in the military, in the private industry, in my field definitely," said N.C. State junior Robert Callender.

Maintaining military readiness is critical, but keeping qualified personnel is difficult.

"A lot of your employers today aren't necessarily caught up in the fact that they want someone with a college education," saidUSMCSgt.Mark Oliva. "They want someone with experience."

Leadership experience in a competitive world is as valuable to business as to the military. And that makes keeping the ranks full a challenge.

Shelton says desire to serve in the military has dropped from 17 percent to 11 percent since 1991.


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