The job of getting men and women into the ranks has gotten a bit harder for Army National Guard recruiters. Nationwide, the guard has fallen short of several thousand recruits for last year, and the first month of the fiscal year 2005. "Times are a little bit tough, because the message we have coming from the news media on the national level is kind of tough," said Lt. Col. Les Collins, head of recruiting at Camp Robinson, Ark. Collins says the negative images and a looming presidential election made October a rocky month for recruiting. "It makes the environment seem not so secure to an individual that might be interested in coming into the service," he said. "A very, very good October would be 120. I believe we had 78 this time." Despite the tough times, the Arkansas National Guard expects to meet its goal for 2005. The state has pumped up the number of recruiters from 65 to 71, an 8% increase. The guard has also condensed the training school for those recruiters to get them working faster. Re-enlistment numbers are also lower than normal. Collins says normally about 85% of soldiers on their way out would re-enlist. Lately, that percentage is down to 66. On the other hand, the last few years have been better for recruiting officers -- up 18% in the last year.