‘It is very alarming’: U.S. military struggles to meet FY22 recruitment goal
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Every military branch is struggling to meet recruitment goals this year, according to CSM Luis Irizarry at the Richmond Recruiting Battalion.
This year’s rate is the lowest since U.S. troops returned home from Vietnam in 1973.
“Service means being proud of our country. In my case, it’s just proud to serve,” Irizarry said. He enlisted into the Army at just 18 years old. Now he’s facing a new battle these days-finding enough soldiers.
“It is very alarming to us, but it is not much of a surprise because even after COVID - with the shutdowns, lockdowns, restrictions - we were limited. We had limited access to the population,” he said.
Pre-covid, recruiters would spend most of their time at community events and high schools. Now, they’re challenged with making their way back.
Irizarry says competitive entry-level jobs are making it even harder for them.
“That’s probably why many of the parents guide their children to go through the civilian market first, but if that’s the case, we also have the Army Reserve,” he said.
An NBC News poll finds that 57% of young Americans think they would suffer psychological or physical harm if enlisted. Obesity, criminal history and health issues are also shrinking the eligibility pool.
At last check, the Army has only met about 40 percent of this year’s recruitment goal. Irizarry says the solution is in our community and school districts.
“Getting out there to the communities and once again getting back into it recruiting post-COVID and ensuring that our message is out [and] that we’re increasing that face to face or in-person prospecting as well as social media,” Irizarry said.
There are only three months left to fill tens of thousands of uniforms left in the fiscal year. The U.S. Army is now offering bonuses of $50,000 for recruits who enlist for six years.
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