Army Can't Find Enough New Soldiers

Recruitment expected to miss goals over the next 2 years
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2022 11:43 AM CDT
Army Can't Find Enough New Soldiers
US Army soldiers line up at the Vay Adam Military Training Base near Hajduhadhaz, Hungary, on June 15.   (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)

The Army is running short of soldiers. The military branch is projected to end the current fiscal year with 466,000 soldiers, which CBS News reports is about 20,000 short of the goal. And the trend line is only getting worse—the total at the end of the 2023 fiscal year is expected to drop to between 445,000 and 452,000. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Gen. James McConville, the Army's chief of staff, have laid all this out in a new memo, along with potential ways to boost recruitment—mainly through signing bonuses and more choices about where recruits eventually will get stationed.

As USA Today notes, military recruitment typically suffers when employment is robust in the private sector, and that's clearly the case in 2022, with unemployment hovering near historic lows. The Army is offering $50,000 bonuses for those who sign up for six years, and $35,000 bonuses for those who can ship out within 45 days of recruitment. Through April, the Army had met just 68% of its goal, a shortfall of more than 8,000 soldiers, notes the newspaper. The Navy also was short, though only by 8%, or about 1,500 sailors, while the Air Force, Marines, and Space Force were all on track with their recruitment goals.

"We've got unprecedented challenges with both a post-COVID-19 environment and labor market, but also private competition with private companies that have changed their incentives over time," Gen. Joseph Martin, vice chief of staff of the Army, told a House panel this week, per CNN. If the projections for 2023 prove to be accurate, the Army will have missed its original goal by about 28,000 soldiers. Martin noted that only 23% of Americans ages 17 to 24 meet the physical requirements to join the Army, a figure that's also on the decline. (More US Army stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.