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US military once again faces recruitment challenges

This year only two out of the five Defense Department service branches met their active-duty enlisted recruitment goals.
US military once again faces recruitment challenges
Posted at 4:33 PM, Nov 11, 2023

It's becoming a familiar story for the U.S. military as the country's armed forces - and the recruiters who work to enlist new Americans - find, yet again, that they are facing challenges with recruitment. 

With hefty bonuses, loosened requirements and new ways of conducting boot camps, the U.S. military said that out of the five Defense Department service branches, only two met their active-duty enlisted recruitment goals.

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Earlier this year a Gallup poll reported findings that showed the confidence in the U.S. military was at its lowest level in over 20 years. Just 60% of people surveyed by the data collecting firm said they held confidence in the armed services. 

The military and recruitment efforts have changed significantly since the 1980s when the Army's slogan played out on televisions singing, "Be All that You Can Be."

The Air Force eased rules for those with tattoos and even lessened drug testing polices, Military.com reported. And the Navy offered record-high financial incentives reaching up to $140,000.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr told Scripps News that even with unemployment factoring in, there have been employment factors playing a role in the past, and there wasn't a military recruitment issue that correlated with that, typically.

"Some of it is that fewer than a quarter of Americans qualify for military service. Only 23% of young Americans qualify for military service without a waver," Gen. Spoehr said. 

He says that with obesity, drug use and failure to pass academic tests, all of those come into play in determining why the military is having a hard time finding new recruits. 

Last year the military faced a similar issue. While the military targets young adults and teenagers, most of them were not qualified to serve. 


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