3 US Defense Wings Fail To Meet Recruiting Goals

The U.S. military’s recruiting chiefs have rvealed that The Army, Navy and Air Force failed to meet recruiting goals in the fiscal year that ended in September.

The Marine Corps and the Space Force made their goals, but the recruiting environment remains tough.

According to Army Maj. Gen. Johnny K. Davis, commanding general of the Army Recruiting Command, he has seen one of the toughest recruiting landscapes in his more than 33 years of service.”

“This recruiting crisis certainly did not appear overnight and cannot be repaired overnight,” Gen. Davis said.

He made the comment in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Davis testified alongside Navy Rear Adm. Alexis T. Walker, commander of the Navy Recruiting Command; Marine Corps Maj. Gen. William J. Bowers, commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command; and Air Force Brig. Gen. Christopher R. Amrhein, commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service.

All of them cited problems common to recruiting efforts across the U.S. Defense services. They noted the percentage of American youths who qualify for military service has dropped. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic limited the ability of recruiters to interact with potential recruits.

The U.S. economy is booming with low unemployment, and the number of adult “influencers” with experience in the military continues to drop.

The numbers are daunting. The Army, the largest service, has a goal of recruiting 55,000 active-duty soldiers during fiscal 2024 and roughly 60,000 for the reserve components. The other services have smaller numbers, but similar challenges.

The military’s recruiting chiefs said they are making progress in meeting recruiting goals for fiscal 2024.

Davis said that the Army Recruiting Command seeks to attract talent and reintroduce the Army to the American public. However, he insisted that the recruiting authorities will not lower standards, and sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. “Our main initiatives over the past year have shown real promise, such as the Future Soldier Prep Course.” The course has had 14,000 graduates, with 95 percent going on to finish basic training and become soldiers.

The Air Force failed to make its requiting goals for the first time in 24 years, Gen. Amrhein said during his testimony. The Air Force recruiting chief specifically mentioned the declining propensity for young Americans to serve. “We’ve seen a steady decline in the military even being an option for our youth as they contemplate the future, with propensity dropping from 13 percent four years ago to 10 percent.”

Amrhein also noted that only 12 percent of American youths have a parent who served in the military, compared to 40 percent in 1995.

Rear Adm. Walker called on the senators to do their part and asked each member to “consider personally engaging with their constituents and the media in a national call to service. Your public support for military recruiting will make a positive difference.”

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