News Briefs – March 25, 2020

U.S. Army closing recruiting stations, moves effort online

The top Army officer said March 20 that all of the service’s recruiting stations are now closing, as the military takes more dramatic steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army, told Pentagon reporters the service will move to “virtual” recruiting, wooing recruits more aggressively through a variety of social media sites and other online activities. He said the shutdown is “happening right now as we speak,” and may continue through the weekend.
The move comes as the Army works to recover from recruiting shortfalls and struggles in recent years, prompting leaders to develop more programs to reach young people online.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said it’s not yet clear how long the shutdown will last, saying the service will take things day by day.
“It’s all going to depend on duration” of the new virus, he said, adding that the Army was having a good recruiting year so far.
The Army met its enlistment goal in 2019, after failing to hit recruiting numbers a year earlier, for the first time in 13 years. The target goal for recruits was lowered from 76,500 in 2018 to about 68,000 last year.
Army leaders have increased the number of recruiters and beefed up efforts to connect with young people through online sports and similar events. AP

South Korea: North Korea fires 2 presumed missiles into sea

North Korea on March 21 fired two presumed short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, South Korea’s military said, as it continues to expand military capabilities amid a standstill in nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were fired from inland in western North Korea and flew cross-country before landing in waters off the country’s eastern coast. The Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t immediately give specific details on how far they flow.
It was the third round of launches the North conducted this month after leader Kim Jong Un entered the new year vowing to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of “gangster-like” U.S. sanctions and pressure.
Nuclear talks have stalemated since the collapse of the second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in early 2019, when the Americans rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. AP