The Army, Navy and Air Force are preparing to miss their recruiting goals by thousands this year, service leaders said Wednesday.
The Army is projecting the largest shortfall of all, as it did last year, proving to be the bellwether for recruiting crunches across the armed services, at a time when the Defense Department is trying to grow its overall ranks by about 12,000.
The Marine Corps will meet its fiscal year 2023 goal of 29,000 new Marines, Assistant Commandant Gen. Eric Smith told the House Armed Services Committee, while Vice Chief of Space Operations David Thompson told the panel his service’s recruiting challenges will depend entirely on what happens with the other services. Space Force depends on the other military branches to transfer experienced officers and enlisted troops to grow as a new service.
“While we’re doing very well in recruiting off the street, as the other services have challenges in their recruiting, it becomes more difficult for them to release folks for inter-service transfer,” Thompson said of his service’s goal to bring in 700 personnel from the other branches, in addition to 700 new recruits.
The Army, with roughly five months left to meet its 2023 goal, is projecting to bring in about 55,000 active duty soldiers, well short of its 65,000 goal.
The Navy expects to fall about 6,000 short of its goals, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti said, which is better than what her service was projecting earlier this year. . . . . (read more on Military.com)
Army’s 65,000 recruit goal will be ‘a challenge’ to reach, Wormuth says (Stars & Stripes, 19 APR 23)
The Army will have a challenge to meet its expanded enlistment goal this year, though the service is recruiting better in 2023 than last year when it fell thousands of soldiers short of its goal, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said Wednesday.
“Sixty-five thousand [recruits for fiscal year 2023] is a very ambitious goal,” she said while testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in defense of the service’s $185.5 billion budget request for fiscal 2024. The service set such a lofty target for 2023 after only taking in 45,000 recruits in 2022 “because [Gen. James McConville, the Army chief of staff,] and I felt it was important to send a signal to our recruiter force that they shouldn’t take their pedal off the metal.”
Despite the insistence from the service’s top leaders that they have prioritized efforts to bring in new recruits above other challenges that the Pentagon’s largest military service faces, lawmakers repeatedly expressed skepticism they can achieve their goal.
Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., told Wormuth that he worried the Army would be forced to cut its force strength. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said he worried the service had a perception issue after recent events including the chaotic 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan and highly publicized controversies such as the coronavirus vaccine mandate and equality concerns within the force.
“I hear from some multigenerational military families, where there’s a reluctance to have their kids join because there’s a perception that [President Joe Biden’s] administration [is] more about social issues than warfighting,” said Bacon, a retired Air Force general.
“It’s a perception, and perceptions aren’t always reality, but it is a reality to those who see it on cable news or read it on the internet. We’ve got to keep reminding folks that we have … the greatest Army in the world, the greatest military in the world. . . . . (read more)