The Dec. 14 article, "Short of recruits, Army redoes its math," was misleading and inaccurately portrayed the Army's reason for revising monthly goals.
The Army modified its monthly goals - not in an effort to avoid the embarrassment of missing a monthly goal - but as a prudent measure to put our tracking system in line with the cyclic peaks and valleys of recruiting throughout the year. This practice is commonly done in industry: Monthly sales goals are established to reflect the cyclic nature of the specific market place.
More important, the only metric that really counts is the Army's annual recruiting goal. We use monthly goals as a tool to measure the effectiveness of various programs. While recruiting certainly remains a challenge, it is important to note that we have exceeded our enlistment goals for six months in a row. Furthermore, the number of recruits who have actually signed an enlistment contract, but have not yet entered the Army, is almost 25 percent higher than it was at this same point last year. Consequently, we have already contracted for approximately 33 percent of our July goal of 10,450, which is the largest monthly goal of the year.
Your story also stated that reenlistments are "slipping." The truth is that in the fiscal year that just ended Sept. 30, the Army had its best year in the past five years. Over 69,500 high-quality soldiers chose to stay with the Army because they know they are members of a great institution and are helping to make the world a better place. Furthermore, for the first two months of fiscal year 2006, we are currently ahead of last year's reenlistment numbers.
Finally, it is important for the American people to understand the importance of the all-volunteer force. Recruiting isn't just a challenge for the Army; it's a challenge for the nation. As the US Constitution makes clear, the Congress, on behalf of the people, raises and supports armies. And as our success in retention shows, soldiers - and their families - derive a great deal of satisfaction from what they're doing. The challenge is to show these benefits to those who have not yet decided to answer the call to duty and serve the country - and to those who help them make life decisions.
Dr. Francis J. Harvey
Secretary of the Army, The Pentagon
Regarding Alexander George's Dec. 22 Opinion piece, "What's wrong with intelligent design, and with its critics": It's silly to call intelligent design science. Science raises new questions, new possibilities, new areas of inquiry. Intelligent design precludes further inquiry. It is the end of science.
I believe in God. I believe He created all things, or at least set in motion the processes whereby all things were created. I also believe He gave us inquiring minds to help us understand His creation and its awesome complexity.
Intelligent design asks me to stop exploring. What a sad prospect.
New Albany, Ind.
I heartily disagree with the opinion of US District Judge John Jones of Pennsylvania. Religion has its place in public schools. So I have no problem with schools teaching intelligent design - in a social studies class with other cultures' creation stories. Intelligent design is not and cannot ever be science. But religion cannot be ignored - for constitutional or any other reason - in any valid study of culture, regardless of whether the school is public or private.
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