The U.S. Army has reached only a little more than half of its recruiting goal for fiscal year 2022. With only about seven weeks remaining, it is expected to fall far short of expectations.
According to Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, the Army as of Friday has only signed enough recruits to meet 52% of its annual goal. For the year, she said the total could be off by as many as 15,000 new members. She also warned that continued shortages over a longer period could have serious effects on military readiness.
The Army had established 60,000 new active duty enlistments for the fiscal year that ends on September 30. Expectations have been significantly lowered as the year has worn on and recruiting results have been dismal.
The Army was authorized earlier in the year to maintain troop levels at 485,000 soldiers. That number has now been lowered to 476,000.
Our Army has a recruiting problem so instead of giving our brave troops more money to help recruiting they spend money on Ukraine and IRS agents. #StupidPrizes
— Sandy Smith NC (@SandySmithNC) August 12, 2022
Department of Defense officials now report that every branch of the U.S. military is facing shortfalls in recruiting. More and more young Americans are either not eligible to serve or willing to join the service.
A survey conducted by the Pentagon found that of all Americans who are eligible to serve, only 9% express any desire to join. It found that 57% of respondents feared they would leave the service with emotional or psychological issues and nearly half expressed concerns about being physically able to serve.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville testified before Congress in May that of all Americans between 17 and 24 years old, only 23% are qualified to join without a waiver.
The Pentagon said in June that recruiting for the current year across all service branches was off by 23%. Many young people are disqualified because of drug use, obesity, or criminal backgrounds.
The Defense Department has attempted to boost recruiting efforts in recent years by offering increased financial benefits and expanded advertising of the benefits of joining.
Many have criticized the emphasis of the advertising campaigns, however. This spring the Army launched a series of ads titled “The Calling,” which stresses its commitment to diversity.
The first ad in the campaign featured the recruiting story of Cpl. Emma Malonelord, highlighting the fact that she was raised by a lesbian couple. She said that as a child she “marched for equality,” and as such has been “defending freedom from an early age.”