MILITARY MATTERS: Army and Air Force Leaders Testify to Senators about Recruiting Challenges

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 11:09 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, DC (WTVM) - Recruiting continues to be a struggle for the Army and the other U.S. military branches, a challenge made tougher by an increase in civilian opportunities for people who would be soldiers.

“The Army is in a fierce competition for talent with the private sector,” Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo said.

In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Undersecretaries from the Army, Air Force and Navy spoke to a new battle they are facing: a historic decline in military recruits.

“We need decisive action, today, to meet our recruiting goals,” assistant secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller Kristyn Jones said.

This month, the Air Force projected it’s on track to miss its 2023 recruiting goal by 10 percent. Last year, the U.S. Army set a goal of 60,000 recruits. It fell short by 15,000 soldiers.

“Even in the best of times, a strong economy and low national unemployment have always made military recruiting difficult,” committee chairman Jack Reed (D) said.

Military leaders say, along with more jobs available to civilians, there’s a decrease of interest among Americans to serve in the Army and other military branches. In an effort to boost recruitment, the Army, this month, relaunched its popular 1981 ad campaign, “be all you can be.”

Also, service members are more and more concerned lately with the growing politicization of the U.S. military, according to new polls.