8 Aug 2007

Enlistment for U.S. army doubles in U.S. territories

3:13 pm on 8 August 2007

The number of young people enlisting in the U.S. army from American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, has doubled between 2004 and 2006.

The figures defy the trend on the mainland where the army is finding it harder to attract recruits as the mounting body toll in Iraq and Afghanistan deters people from signing up.

A U.S. research organisation, the National Priorities project, says this is despite an aggressive marketing campaign and the offering of large financial incentives.

Its research director, Anita Dancs, says the army is now targetting youth from areas of limited economic opportunity and is very successful in the three U.S. territories.

"It is possible to get an enlistment bonus right now, in the army, of 70 or 80,000 dollars. We're talking about quite significant economic incentives to, you know, an 18 or 19 year old who may be facing a minimum paying job or is facing not being able to pay for college without a serious struggle."

Anita Dancs.