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The Army's Recruitment Crisis
The U.S. military faces a crisis. How to fill the rise in the ranks from adding tens of thousands of troops, thanks to the Obama administration’s decision to allow end strength to rise by 68,500 to 476,000, which actually means about 80,000 this fiscal year. The post-9/11 Army has done it before – like for the surge in Afghanistan in 2010 – but not without lowering the bar for entry.
So Defense News recently interviewed Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow of the U.S. Army’s Recruiting Command.
Defense One: Are we on a surge-like course?
Snow: Right now, the guidance from the leadership is very clear... The mission is: going higher on both Regular Army and Army Reserve. Regular Army mission, it’s going [from] 68,500 to 80,000. In the case of Army Reserve, it’s going from 14,400 to 15,600. The fact is we’re increasing force levels in Iraq, increasing force levels in Afghanistan. And oh, by the way, we’ve got soldiers deployed in some 70 countries around the world.
But the leadership has said this: You will meet the Department of Defense benchmarks. So we’ve got our work cut out for us in 2018. The Army has not accessed 80,000 new recruits in the last 20 years without violating Department of Defense quality benchmarks.
Defense One: The biggest need?
Snow: Right now, cyber is an area that we’re going with. So I will tell you that is a need. Military intelligence is a need. There’s some of our specialties – we say STEM-focused [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math], or STEM-aligned, if you will – that are just tough.
Defense One: Only three in 10 Americans qualify for the Army?
Snow: That’s held fairly consistent for many years. In a perfect world, would it be nice if that were four in 10 instead? Sure, but I have to tell you, although I like that to change, that’s not what concerns me right now as the guy leading the recruitment effort. The bigger concern for me is: I don’t think the youth of today are being afforded the opportunity to make an informed decision about serving....
I want them to understand that there are some pieces of information that are not accurate. So right now, unfortunately, the majority of youth that are aware of the four services think that if they join the Army, they’re likely to be either physically or mentally harmed. When in fact, the reality is that 10 to 15 percent of those that are actively involved in direct or indirect combat...not everybody that’s coming into the Army is going to get handed an M4 and find himself in the middle of the desert.
Source: Defense One
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