US Army Announces Sweeping Overhaul in Recruitment to Address Shortfalls

The US Army has announced that it is launching a sweeping overhaul of its recruitment strategies to address enlistment shortfalls.

The move comes as the service missed its recruitment goals for two consecutive fiscal years.

According to the army, military recruitment will now focus more on young people who have already spent time in college rather than recent high school graduates.

This is reportedly because the labor market “has changed fundamentally.”

“While today’s high school seniors comprise more than 50 percent of our annual contracts, they represent only 15-20 percent of the larger prospect pool from which we could recruit,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said.

“This means that in addition to the high school market, we need to attract and hire Americans in the college market or those already out in the job market.”

Wormuth said the army is now aiming for at least a third of its newest soldiers to have more than a high school degree by 2028.

Transforming Recruitment Workforce

Another major part of the overhaul is the creation of a workforce dedicated only to recruitment.

Instead of relying on soldiers randomly assigned to the task, the service will build a team of full-time talent acquisition specialists to be known as 42T.

It will also elevate the US Army Recruiting Command from a two-star headquarters to a three-star command, in which the commander will enjoy an increased tenure of up to four years.

“We need to empower our leaders with the access and time on the job they need to make an enduring impact,” Wormuth stressed. “Recruiting is one of the most important missions in the Army, and these changes reflect that importance.”

The army secretary said some of the changes will take effect in the next 90 days, but a wholesale transformation will take several years.

US Army recruits
Potential new members of the US Army taking the oath. Photo: Sgt. Jared Simmons/US Army

Recruitment Shortfalls

By the end of fiscal year 2022, the US Army only recruited 45,000 new servicemen out of the 60,000 it initially targeted.

The shortfall was attributed to a tight job market due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, in the following fiscal year that ended Saturday, the service only had 55,000 new recruits. The “stretched goal” made public was 65,000.

Despite the missed enlistment goals, army officials claimed the numbers still allowed the service to meet its required total strength of 452,000.

“We have not been recruiting very well for many more years than one would think from just looking at the headlines in the last 18 months,” Wormuth expressed, adding that the annual recruitment goal has actually not been met since 2014.

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