Military officials expect to miss recruitment goal by 25% this year
FILE PHOTO: Army basic combat training graduates have their temperatures taken as they arrive at Fort Lee, Va, March 31, 2020 © US Army via AP
The Army has so far recruited just around half of 60,000 new soldiers it hoped to enlist by October 1, officials said on Tuesday, admitting that if the downward trend is not reversed it could have a significant impact on combat readiness in the coming years.
“We’ve got unprecedented challenges with both a post-Covid-19 environment and labor market, but also competition with private companies that have changed their incentives over time,” vice chief of staff for the Army, Gen. Joseph Martin, told a House Armed Services subcommittee, according to AP.
The US military has had a difficult time attracting new soldiers, posting its lowest recruitment numbers in decades this year. Last month, the Pentagon admitted it was 23% behind recruiting goals. The problem has been widely blamed on bad advertising – specifically the recent trend toward “woke” ads widely mocked on social media – and a sloppy, antiquated recruitment system that places too much responsibility in the hands of outside contractors.
Facing the most severe recruiting problems across all military branches, the US Army is currently offering bonuses of up to $50,000 – which can turn out to be much less in practice – for a six-year enlistment, but is still struggling to find enough volunteers. Martin projected the Army force may fall from the expected 476,000 to 466,400 troops by the end of this fiscal year, and to as few as 445,000 soldiers by the end of 2023.