Fiscal year 2023 has proven to be a challenge for the U.S. military as they fight to attract and retain recruits. The Washington Times reports that the recruiting crisis is affecting all branches of the military as they fall short of their recruitment goals. Leaders say that the competition with private businesses who are offering the same incentives, such as funding for college, is not making the military as appealing as it once was for potential members.
According to the Washington Times, “with the exception of the Marine Corps, each service expects to fall short of its recruiting goals in fiscal 2023. The Army expects to be about 10,000 soldiers short of its recruiting goal, service officials told Congress in April. The Navy is on track to be about 6,000 short. The Air Force will miss its mark by about 10,000, officials said.”
Air Force Col. Anthony Pasquale, chief of the Air National Guard‘s recruiting and retention division said that “this is the most challenging recruiting environment the Department of Defense has probably ever faced” since experimenting with an all-volunteer force.
Some leaders are looking to implement changes to help boost recruitment. Washington state National Guard members are taking more of an active role in attending events at schools and other locations to talk to young people about entering the force. Some specialists argue that each service should have a recruitment focus, while others say that the Pentagon should be in charge of the entire operation of military recruitment. Marine Corps veterans Geoff Irving and Taylor Quackenbush wrote in a March analysis for the U.S. Naval Institute that the recruiting force should “tailor solutions to individual applicants and distribute expertise and excellence across the six branches.”
Exploring new recruitment strategies may be necessary for the U.S. military as falling short of recruitment goals grows concerns about national defense. In addition to the benefits of joining the military, recruiters could add what makes it stand apart from all the other companies and industries that are giving the military tough competition, noting what makes the military unique and rank highest among the rest.