Army falls short recruiting – again

| September 9, 2023

Looks like the Army is yet again falling short of recruits. They have until the end of the month to close out the government’s year, but as of now it is pretty much certain there will be a massive recruiting shortfall.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth previously said the service will miss its fiscal 2023 recruiting goals, and she said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on July 20 that the service will beat its fiscal 2022 active duty totals “by several thousand.” The service previously refused to release detailed in-progress recruiting numbers, though Wormuth said she believes the service will bring in between 50,000 and 55,000 new active duty soldiers out of a goal of 65,000, according to Stars and Stripes.

Army Times obtained internal Army Recruiting Command figures that indicate the service has reached approximately two-thirds of its combined active duty and Army Reserve enlisted contract goals as of Sept. 1.

According to the internal document obtained by Army Times, the command intended to sign nearly 94,000 active and reserve applicants before Sept. 30. But as of Sept. 1, with one month to go in the fiscal year, only around 62,500 recruits (or two-thirds of the contract target) had signed up. Pre-training losses winnowed that number to just under 60,000, or approximately 63.7% of the signing goal.

Army Times

Noting that this year they instituted the pre-Basic training camps to self-described success (so much so they want to make them a permanent program) to help along the physically and educationally unfit (to be kind),  it sounds like they are realistically signing up at most 50% of the qualified applicants they need.

Can’t understand why not: any unit deficiencies are widely publicized, the command authority essentially treats the military as a door mat, and the former emphasis on being a lethal fighting organization has been drowned under a sea of social experiments. It would remind me of the Carter days, but the outside economy is perceived as better now. Plus, at least in these hallowed pages here, it sure sounds like the average vet is more likely to counsel youngsters NOT to enlist than not.

Sure seems like it would make anyone who took pride in their service sad.

Category: Army, Economy

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

…I can only imagine the horror that the recruiters are living through right now. My experience in recruiting tells me that there are constant demands to work more hours, make more calls, and press the bleeding edge of the ethical envelope when the leadership knows damned well they’re up against a wall.


I lucked out at the expense of others who “took one for the team”. Sorry for the dark sense of humor, those who get it get it. Reporting shortly after Houston Battalion’s 4th Choose Your Fate elimination, within a few months we had a signed policy letter straight from the CG mandating 0900-1700 standard hours, not including PT but with one day each week designated family time with a 1500 release. Weekends could be worked for special events, but not office duty. Getting my first doughnut when the Mission month ended two days after I got there, I initially would work around 0730-1930 or 2000. One of our Reserve Recruiters had been there for over ten years and told me that he used to come in at 0300 and leave some nights at 2300. Similarly, I’ve talked to Recruiters from remote Stations who, even during the time-off policy, would have to report to battalion or company HQ for training or administrative stuff. So, wake up early, report to HQ at 0900 for training, then get released at 1700 to drive back to your Station a few hours away.

The Time-Off Policy seems to have ended by 2014 or so, with Recruiters working more and longer hours. I can imagine that soon it will be right back up there in some locations. Station sitting two for eight with one week left? Yep, if those two contracts were written by the same person, they’ve got it easy. The rest of the Station will be working 16-hour days to get six contracts in a week.


76-82 on recruiting duty. SGT E5 11B in Berlin, coming from 101st ABN. I volunteered for Recruiting duty and my 1st time reenlisting was as a Recruiter. 1976-80 in the far western suburbs of Chicago. My share of the area was rural farm land with 4 high schools. Enlistment bonus at that time was $2k mostly for combat arms. Mission averaged 2 a month which was not had to accomplish. Hours 8-6 Mon-Sat.
Last 2 years was as a Guidance Counselor at the MEPS closing the sale. Then Branch sent me to Retention NCO School at Ft Benjamin Harrison, Indiana (Indianapolis) and onward to 3ID in Schweinfurt, followed by 10th Mtn, 2ID, 7th ID, then I Corps and retirement.


A couple of months before I reported to Recruiter School, the Army Recruiter Assistance Program (A-RAP) was initiated, paying Soldiers $1k for referrals that enlisted and another $1k once they shipped. This was similar to the G-RAP program that made the news last year due to fraud allegations.

This past January, the Army approved the Army Recruiting Ribbon (ARR) for Soldiers who get a referral who enlists and ships. There’s no monetary reward, but up to four may be awarded, granting up to 40 points for promotion to SGT/SSG.

The Army of the late 2000s was one fighting two unpopular wars, with the Surge in its final stages. Despite A-RAP, Recruiters were struggling and, coupled with so many of us being DA Select and having been to war, the command had to learn to adapt. Hence, the Time-Off Policy and a focus on transforming the toxic senior NCOs in USAREC.

Failing to make mission is one thing, as it’s inflated. Above, Mike mentioned accessions versus enlistments, with adjustments for DEP Losses and such at the lower levels. To keep it simple, let’s use the battalion vs. company vs. station mission: Battalion has a mission of 72, they task each of six companies with a mission of 13, who in turn task each of their five stations with a mission of three. Best case, battalion gets 90 Soldiers shipping.

If one station fails to make mission, it’s not the end of the world. Officers hate feeling embarrassed, though, so if a company makes 11 in the above scenario and battalion finishes with 68, that’s a bad day for all involved. Multiply that by Big Army and you get stuff like A-RAP and the ARR, essentially stating that Recruiters need outside assistance. Embarrassment goes down the chain of command until that CPT, hoping to make MAJ before long, mandates that the minimum 12-hour duty day is now extended to 0630-2100. I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but timeline to follow:


Everything is fluid in recruiting, but I could see a loose timeline like this at the Station level:

0630: Report to station, provide morning back brief to Station Commander and prepare for a day of prospecting.

0730: On location at the high schools for maximum facetime as students disembark the bus. Minimal time for interaction, but the more they see you and think of you as a normal person instead of a military Recruiter, the better chance you have of approaching them later.

0900: Back at the station, calling pre-qualified College Graduates, following up on leads from previous contacts, and starting any administrative tasks you have.

1100: At the high schools for lunch, with at least 10 contacts and two appointments planned.

1230: Community engagement–posting businesses and conducting Hot Knocks until at least 1500.

1500: Begin telephone prospecting with high school students–240 Seniors total Attempts, with at least 60 contacts, and five confirmed appointments.

1700: Follow up with current DEP pool, conduct appointments as needed and recontact missed or cancelled appointments.

1900: Processing Applicants, complete plans and other administrative for the following day.

2045: Station Commander provides feedback for the day’s productivity and guidance from the CO/1SG.

Saturdays would, of course, probably be shorter and wouldn’t involve schools outside of extracurricular activities.

And with that timeline complete, I realize my time as a Drill Sergeant planning Duty Weeks might have made me a very toxic USAREC 1SG…😄


Yikes! Now I know I had it easy in USAREC back then. I had 1 additional school in my area however it was a private school. I drove in once in my GSA sedan and was promptly escorted out the gate. We still got a couple walk-in’s a month from them.


Pentagon Brass: Hmm. Must not be woke enough.

Quick more DEI training!


The US Army will miss its Fiscal 2023 goals?

Gee Whiz. We Wonder Why…😳


I guess Muh Diversity is not our strength after all. My shelf of shocked faces is as bare as that old proverbial field.


You misspelled Physical.


That is one fugly creature

Old tanker

Any guesses as to how long before they restart the stop loss program?




The response:


During time of peace? They will have to start a war, police action, intervention or something.


I think that next November is the variable here. Given a Dem controlled government, do you think we won’t find someplace to shed the blood of our youth? Barring a sudden provocation, they’ll wait until the polls close before deciding to act.

Generals and Colonels need wars for promotions. Contractors need expenditure of materiel and equipment, not to mention the need to continually outmatch our enemies on the battlefield, to profit. Politicians need headlines to distract from what goes on north of Richmond. Speaking of which, Executives need strong “responses” to become heroes (i.e. Bush and Giuliani post-9/11). Mainstream media needs combat footage, alleged war crimes, daily updates from the front, etc. for ratings. The Armed Forces themselves depend on conflict for funding of new toys and infrastructure.


It’s not uncommon to see leaders fired for ineffectiveness or loss of confidence. Why not do the same here? The current CG of USAREC is MG Johnny Davis, as a fellow Old Guard and 101st ABN alumnus, I wouldn’t want to see his career end prematurely, but then again, 34 years is a good run.

The Recruiters will suffer, as AtlanticCoast63 previously stated. However, they need to look at two groups of leaders, those at the lower levels, and I dare say, those at the highest level, up to and including Wormuth herself. Pushing agendas over combat effectiveness weakens the Army and deters those who might otherwise enlist. Imagine how many would-be Soldiers were enticed into the Marines due to the negative publicity that bad advertisements and such generated. Recruiters are gonna recruit, and I don’t blame the services for picking on each other when it comes to accessions.

As for the lower-level leaders, look at the company and battalion leadership. For once, I’ll say that the officers might warrant less scrutiny than the 1SGs and CSMs, or even the staff. Officers are generally pulled from their branch after a previous successful command and are, like their (usually less experienced, we’d have a MAJ as CO in USAREC and sometimes see a 1LT as CO on Sand Hill) peers in OSUT and BCT, essentially paperwork signers. The NCOs are all 79R Career Recruiters that spent a year or more as a Detailed Recruiter before converting and eventually spending years as a Station Commander, in S3, and eventually as a 1SG. In other words, they understand the environment, have proven successful themselves, and fail to inspire their troops. If I were a USAREC 1SG right now, I’d request that the CSM allow me to designate a fill-in for some of the many meetings so that I could visit at least one Station a week and spend the day prospecting or doing something else proactive.


It’s not just “blame the NCO”, though. There are plenty of weak officers, but again, recruiting is an NCO’s business. Going back to the senior leadership, it is more on their shoulders than it is their subordinate commanders. MG Davis can only work with what TRADOC and the Army as a whole gives him. SECARMY, the ACS, and others in the Pentagon provide guidance and intent.

The Pre-Basic stuff might actually help out, a lot. At first I just thought, “what in the hell?”. Now, I think that better preparing young men and women for BCT and OSUT is good. Sure, their aptitude and/or physicality might be subpar right now. But those who make it through will likely be better Trainees than the kids who ship straight to Fort Jackson or Fort Benning (or whatever they’re called now). National Guard Soldiers were usually more knowledgeable and prepared based on their Recruit Sustainment Program in their home units.


Speaking of BCT and OSUT, the Army should also try to find a way to gatekeep the Gatekeepers. As a slightly older Drill Sergeant, I trained kids the same age as my own. There are a minority of underdeveloped and immature Drill Sergeants who feel that they are the Gatekeeper. My company generally had two hardcore Gatekeepers, with a couple of auxiliary ones.

On Pickup Day, we already start assessing the Trainees. We’ll see the whiners, the quitters, the challengers, and so on. What some of us forget is that our job is not to select who we’ll kick out of the Army, but rather to embrace the challenge of turning as many as possible into Soldiers. One cycle we had a kid who was maybe 5’2″ tall, weighed 105 pounds, and was weak as all get out, failing the first few APFTs. Others wanted to see him fail. By the end, he embraced the M240B he was assigned for FTX and he marched across the parade field shortly after sporting his new blue cord.


Another time, we had an immigrant from West Africa. His native language was French, and he happened to be placed in the platoon that the two hardcore Gatekeepers were assigned to. Early on, while these two guys with southern accents were rapidly shouting commands, he was a bit slow to respond. They honed-in on him and started targeting him, with one telling him to point down. He pointed up instead and that was all they needed to start talking to the 1SG about him being “untrainable”. Personally, I suspect that the evil “R@cist” word was another factor; I don’t lightly label people with that. I took the kid’s side, pulling my 1SG aside and telling him that he risked EO and other allegation if he just blindly accepted their recommendations. The kid ended up graduating, but a few weeks prior, while on CQ, I was lecturing the platoon on what to expect in their units. I said one word (“elevating”, I believe) and got some blank stares, so I pointed out a few Soldiers and asked them what it meant. They didn’t know. I asked the PVT that had been targeted and he pointed up saying “uplifting, Drill Sergeant”, probably knowing my intent.

I proceeded to tell that platoon that just a couple of months earlier their Drill Sergeants had tried to kick this kid out because he spoke English as a secondary language. Yet, amazingly, he had a better vocabulary than many of them. My philosophy is that a lot of people speak better English than I speak their native language, so who am I to ascertain someone as “untrainable” because they failed to interpret what I say. I’ve got my own accent, people think I’m from New England, and people think I’m from south of New Orleans. Hell, some even used to think I was British. If I want to, I can ensure that few understand me…😃


Perhaps the Army should take some instruction from the French Foreign Legion who have, for over a hundred years, routinely enlisted and some would say successfully trained people who had no French at all.


“One cycle we had a kid who was maybe 5’2″ tall, weighed 105 pounds, and was weak as all get out,…”

Sort of an Audie Murphy type, eh?


Be 2/3’s of All You Can Be.


Todays prospects can’t handle fractions….


Quality candidates are not interested.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

With enough traction, one can handle the fractions as long as ones brain doesn’t fracture under the pressure of fractions. I think I’ll stop there so my own noodle doesn’t fracture.

RGR 4-78

Jeff, you are 15/16ths correct. 😉 


Oh, and in my long-winded comments above, I forgot to draw the correlation between meeting recruiting goals and having objective and effective military trainers like Drill Sergeants. We can expand the latter to the entire leadership structure of the Army, especially those that 1st-term Soldiers interact with regularly.

Anytime someone has a bad experience, they make it known. That kid that Drill Sergeant fm2176 thought was just not Infantry material is going to go home and share his experiences. He’ll possibly be mocked and get defensive over why he only spent a few weeks in the Army. Regardless, family and friends will be less likely to enlist in the Army, knowing that this kid’s Drill Sergeant picked on him and made him quit.

Alternatively, the kid makes it through training. He gets to his first unit and his Team Leader is a hard charger who inspects his room at 0530 every morning and expects him to be escorted everywhere. Meanwhile, the typical duty day is 0600-1800, and the PSG is a believer in mass punishment. He’s an above-average Soldier but scores 265 on the APFT and has seen others get promoted over him because they can max the APFT. After a couple of years, it’s time to reenlist and the SPC decides against it. He’ll go back home and have at best, mostly neutral things to say about his experiences.

I see this stuff in the comments on various YouTuber videos. There are a few good content creators (I think most started on TikTok, which I refuse to use) that still serve. They’ll post funny stuff that sometimes tackles the reality of Army service, and the comments are often filled with “this is why I got out”, or “that’s what I hated most about my time in”.


Let’s see, it’s as officers, can’t feed the troops, soldiers marines and sailors blown to pieces and billions in arms left to the enemy, bald dress wearing thieves in the White House. Some of the reasons I tell kids to run if a recruiter shows up.


Couldn’t agree more. Why would a smart kid with options want a low paying, unappreciated job that might get you killed? Between the recent disasters of Afghanistan and Iraq, the future disaster looming in Taiwan, woke indoctrination and senior leadership that won’t dare contradict the woke party line which is eroding public trust and confidence in the military the best and brightest are staying away in droves. The quality of American youth isn’t the problem, the good candidates just aren’t interested.


Maybe if some general officers went public about Brandon failing to take their advice on the Afghan withdrawal, and then resign their commissions, the public and vets would have more respect for them. But they let Brandon lie about them and blame them. Compare them to the whistleblowers from the IRS and FBI who did the right thing.


If they did it before they resign their commission, they could find themselves in front of a court martial.

Hack Stone

Can’t understand why the Army is continuing to fail on meeting their recruiting goals. With the Biden-Harris Administration fully embracing the LGBQT+%#} community, why are they not enlisting? They are just as patriotic and eager to serve as the evil white males who traditionally serve.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

I keep saying that todays Military ain’t the same as when I served many moons ago.


It ain’t the same Army I retired from 11 years ago.


That was back when Commander 0 had not yet had enough time to wreck the military.


It ain’t the same Army I retired from 10 months ago, which wasn’t the same one I left 15 months ago. We live in progressive times…


Same here, but that should be a good thing.


I was a recruiting company commander and a battalion ops officer in the 80’s. Back then, CG USAREC was graded on his ability to fill the training base seats (accessions), while everyone else down below was graded on enlistments. The whole Delayed Entry Program was a buffer. Recruiting goals for enlistments were always higher than the accession goals.
I expect its the same now.


3.8% unemployment.

Isn’t gonna happen.


Along with wokester officers, and veterans warning kids away, certainly not.


Ugh, Recruiting Duty. The one thing that the Army detailed me into that I was a failure at.

But you would think that with the creation this year of an Army Recruiting Ribbon that everybody already in the Army is eligible for, that the numbers would be way, way up. But, no such luck.

I only have another six years to go before I have to talk my grandsons (when they turn 18) out of not going into any of the services. / s


Fortunately, all my service was in infantry and special forces battalions, except for five months in a Ranger company.


You know, they swore up and down that all these they/them, non-binary, and transgenders were ready, able, and willing to serve. What happened?


US Army: Be Whoever or Whatever You Want to Be!


It states that 62,500 have signed, but how many of those completed basic? Completed MOS training? Just by signing up doesn’t mean they are a replacement.


True, once someone passes BCT they’re considered a Soldier, but until they earn their MOS and become qualified in their job, they’re dead weight. I suppose we could simply make all of the BCT-qualfied “Soldiers” cannon fodder in the event of a major war. Meet minimal standards and you’ve can shoot a rifle and try to hold some ground, even if you can’t maneuver.

If you factor in the washout rate of those who go on to their first units, the number of initial-term separations is even higher. You can earn the title Soldier, become a qualified 92G Cook, and fail to adapt to the rigors of that life, get into trouble, or otherwise find yourself back home within a year of enlisting.


When you alienate your majority cohorts by lessening standards and playing identity politics what do you expect? The typical all volunteer army era recruit has been 17-24 year old males, mostly rural and white who typically comprise (Combat Arms/CS)and Black and 1st/2nd second generation Hispanics that gravitate to (CSS) jobs that translate to post military job skills. What’s common about all three groups is that they typically come from socially conservative families. Every major initiative in the army since the Obama era has sought to expand the recruiting pool to “other” groups of socially liberal groups that never have and never will be your best recruiting cohort. Women/liberal minorities will never join Combat Arms/the Military in any significant amount and these groups frankly are not suited to the jobs no matter how many “succesful” graduations we see. “Other” minorities such as gay and transgenders are so infinitesimally small that there inclusion or exclusion have virtually no bearing on numbers. So, while attempting to “diversify” and get “woke” by bashing the “backward” policies of the all traditional volunteer force. The politicians have basically cut off the supply to the most important segments of the recruiting pool.


I couldn’t agree with you more, but the politicians and senior military leaders will never admit it or change it.

A Proud Infidel®™

WELL GEE MUDDA-FUCKIN’ WHIZ, wasn’t renaming the posts along with the statues being removed and the products being re-branded supposed to have given us world shit-eating peace by now? According to the liberal moonbats, everyone should be holding hands and singing “Kum-ba-ya” by now!