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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Pentagon recruiters fall behind
Uncle Sam recruiting poster made famous during two world wars
New recruiting posters and adverts may be appearing soon
US Army recruiters have failed to hit their targets for the third consecutive month, with the war in Iraq apparently making Americans reluctant to enlist.

Provisional figures show an April shortfall, a Pentagon spokesman says, after the army managed only 68% of its target in March and 73% in February.

The last time a monthly quota was missed was in May 2000.

Elsewhere, a court is to review a ban on recruiters from many law schools.

The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether 31 such schools, which ban recruitment on grounds of army discrimination against openly homosexual people, should continue to receive federal funds.

A "don't ask, don't tell" policy is followed by the Pentagon with regard to recruiting gays and lesbians.

Acting Solicitor General Paul Clement said military lawyers played a vital role and the army depended "significantly on campus access to recruit the lawyers they need to carry out their missions".

'Fruitful summer'

Recruiters themselves are being boosted in numbers at the Pentagon and new advertising and other publicity efforts are also planned in a bid to get Americans enlisting, spokesman Paul Boyce told the Associated Press news agency.

He predicted "big gains" later in the year.

Altogether, the army hopes to win 80,000 recruits over the US fiscal year, lasting from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005.

Opinion polls quoted by AP show that continuing US casualties in Iraq are putting off potential recruits, while the strength of the economy is also said to be keeping them at home.

The problem also applies to the elite Marine Corps, although to a lesser extent.

Its recruitment in April was 9% less than the target - a shortage of 260 personnel.

However, a marine spokesman said he believed the annual target would eventually be met.

"June, July and August are generally more fruitful times for recruiting," said Maj David Griesmer. "We anticipate making up any deficit."

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