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2003 - Another Banner Military Recruiting and Retention Year

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Complicating the retention picture, however, is the end of the Stop-Loss program. The program, which halts separations and retirements in critical specialties during war or crisis, has been lifted. Army officials said they do not expect to see the end of the program mirrored in retention statistics until the first or second quarters of fiscal 2004.

Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Stephens said the service has not seen the great exodus that many forecast when stop-loss ended.

In all cases, the services are not taking anything for granted. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will continue to push to get the best, most- qualified people in the military. Officials at all the service recruiting commands said the recruiters are doing outstanding work, and all the services are looking at ways to make recruiters' lives – and their families' lives – easier.

Burr said the Defense Department will continue to examine the recruiting and retention statistics and make program changes as needed.

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