The United States Army, in light of a harsh lack of enlisting young people so far this year, has lowered the recruiting goals set for this year.
The initial goal of 80,000 recruits has not been able to have been met yet, although the lowered number is still an improvement over the meager 69,000 goal of last year. The goal has been set down to 76,500 new troops, a substantial amount of enlistees.
This projects that the 80,000-strong goal has been decreased by at least 3,500 people. Currently, the Army has emplo
yed about 28,000 new personnel in FY2018.
But, in return for losing potential newer members of the branch, the Army has kept a fair number more veteran soldiers than it has in previous years: 86%, compared to the 81% of the past five years.
Most of the reason they have had trouble getting new young recruits is due to a relatively strong economy, especially in privately-owned businesses and sectors; private employers are opening well-paying jobs to high school and college graduates, otherwise deterring possible recruits from enrolling in the military, especially the US Army.
Alongside the already well-paying jobs taking candidates for Army enlistment, recruiting officials have also stated that teenagers graduating high school are being accepted into colleges around this time, proving recruitment even more difficult.
Furthermore, while the US Army does not plan to lower enlistment standards, the quality of available candidates is steadily declining due to several reasons, one of which includes physical health, as many potential newcomers have histories of using illegal drugs. This would necessitate waivers to prevent personnel from using them during their service.
Another challenge posed to recruiters is something also increasingly common: a recurrent social issue that makes recruiting young men and women even more demanding than the other factors is that the United States has been involved in Middle Eastern conflicts for at least sixteen straight years, distancing nonmilitary people from military personnel. Misconceptions, false rumours, and an overall negative stigma against veterans serving in recent years have sprung up, nor do many citizens know any armed forces members or veterans in person.
Despite all the odds, Army officials have declared that while a “strong economy does make it challenging,” referencing the lower recruitment rate, that they do not plan to lower enlistment standards any time soon.