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,”According to AP Gen. Joseph Martin told a House Armed Services Subcommittee that he was vice-chief of Staff for the Army.
It has been difficult for the US military to attract new soldiers. This year, it posted its lowest ever recruitment figures in many decades. The Pentagon acknowledged last month that it had fallen 23% short of its recruitment 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 forecasted that the Army might fall from 476,000 to 466.400 troops at the end this fiscal year to 445,000 by 2023.
“The Army is facing our most challenging recruiting environment since the inception of the all-volunteer force,”Christine Wormuth (Army Secretary) spoke during the hearing. “We are facing a very fundamental question… Do we lower standards to meet end strength, or do we lower end strength to maintain a quality, professional force? We believe the answer is obvious — quality is more important than quantity.”
NBC reported that just 9% (of eligible people aged between 17 and 24) have ever considered serving in the armed forces. This is the lowest figure since 2007. The overall American population is now 29% and 23% respectively, which shows that they are less physically, mentally, and morally qualified than in 2007.
According to Pentagon data, money and paying college fees were the most popular reasons for potential recruits to want to join military service. The top three main reasons for not joining the military were fear of injury, death, trauma psychological, or sexual harassment.
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