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Army recruitment misses mark by 25%, 15,000 soldiers short of annual goal

Oct 03, 2022


The U.S. Army has fallen short of its annual recruitment goal this year. It is short by about 15,000 soldiers. This means they missed the mark by 25 percent. Officials confirmed the numbers on Friday. While the Army was the only branch of service that didn’t meet its target, all of the others had to dig deep into their pools of delayed entry applicants in order to meet the goal, which will put them behind as they begin the next recruiting year on Saturday.

“In the Army’s most challenging recruiting year since the start of the all-volunteer force, we will only achieve 75% of our fiscal year 22 recruiting goal,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The Army will maintain its readiness and meet all our national security requirements. If recruiting challenges persist, we will draw on the Guard and Reserve to augment active-duty forces, and may need to trim our force structure.”

Officials said the Army brought in about 45,000 soldiers during the fiscal year that ended Friday. The goal was 60,000. Early this year, military leaders were already braced for a bad recruiting season. The Army, for example, announced several months ago that it would have to adjust the expected size of its total force this year from 476,000 to about 466,000 to adjust for recruitment issues.

The causes for the recruiting struggles are many and varied, according to the Associated Press. They said it is unclear how much the debate over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is playing in the recruiting struggles. So far, the Army has discharged about 1,700 soldiers for refusing to take the mandated vaccine.

Two years of the pandemic shut off recruiters’ access to schools, public events, fairs and other youth organizations where they often find prospects. The move to online recruiting was only marginally successful. Some of the in-person access has been slow to open up again.

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that according to estimates, just 23% of young people can meet the military’s fitness, educational and moral requirements with many disqualified for reasons ranging from medical issues to criminal records and tattoos.

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