Navy Says It Isn't Getting Enough Recruits

But Army, Air Force have turned things around
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2024 8:22 PM CDT
US Navy Is Falling Short of Recruitment Goals
Members of the class of 2023 enter Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium before the US Naval Academy's graduation and commissioning ceremony in Annapolis last year.   (Jerry Jackson /The Baltimore Sun via AP)

The Army and Air Force have managed to turn things around and meet recruiting targets, but the Navy isn't saying hello to enough sailors. The Navy says it aimed to sign up 40,600 individuals in the current recruiting year but it expects to fall around 6,700 short, Fox News reports. The shortfall comes despite relaxed standards. Earlier this year, the Navy began accepting recruits without high school diplomas, as long as they scored at least 50 out of 99 on the Armed Services Qualification Test. "We continue to face challenges in the current and forecasted economic environment and tough labor market," says Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, head of Navy personnel.

The Navy has also raised the age limit for new recruits to 41 and set up "pre-entry boot camps" to help recruits meet standards, Maritime Executive reports. Last week, Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations, told Congress that shortfalls are taking their toll. She said the Navy is 18,000 short of the number of sailors needed for operations at sea, and 4,000 short of those needed for land-based roles, the AP reports. The recruitment year ends Sept. 30.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, however, tells the AP that the service branch is optimistic about hitting its goal of 55,000 recruits for the recruitment year that ends Sept. 30—plus 5,000 more for the delayed entry pool. Brig. Gen. Christopher Amrhein, head of Air Force recruiting, is also "cautiously optimistic." The Marine Corps, meanwhile, which hit its target last year as other branches missed theirs, is on course to reach its goal once again. "We continue to make mission without ever diminishing our standards," Gen. Eric Smith told Congress. (More US military stories.)

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