USA Today article United States military recruiting numbers for 2020 have plummeted, according to the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.
He said recruiting rates are at a new low and the Army is committed to finding new ways to increase recruitment.
Odiernys Army recruiting rate was 4.4% in 2019 and is down to 2.6% this year, according a memo obtained by Reuters.
In his letter to the Army’s Commandant of the Army Col. James A. Lyons, Odiernan said recruiting is now at a low level because of a “decades-long recruiting and retention failure” that has created a recruitment system that “has led to the recruitment and retention of many of our nation’s most talented individuals.”
The memo was provided to Reuters by a source familiar with the memo.
The Army last year released a recruitment report for 2021 that showed the recruitment rate for the first time since 1999 was below 1%.
Odiernon said he is concerned that if the recruitment rates continue to drop, then the Army will be unable to recruit for the rest of the decade.
The number of people who are interested in the Army, Odierson said, will drop to zero.
“We cannot be a recruiting force to fill the needs of the current generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members,” Odierna said.
Odiersons letter came a day after the Defense Department announced it was slashing its 2018 recruiting estimate by about 1.4%.
It is a major reversal from the year before, when the Army estimated that recruiting would be 3.4%, the highest it has been since 1999.
In its recruiting announcement, the Army said it was reducing its estimate by nearly a third and the overall projected recruiting rate by nearly half a percentage point to 4.1%.
The memo from Odiernas letter said the Army wants to hire and retain the best and brightest of the nation’s brightest young men and women and “that they are a vital part of our Army and our Nation.”
It said the military has an opportunity to build a stronger future for America by recruiting a new generation of young men, women and men who have not only excelled in school, but also in the military and have made important contributions to the Nation.
The memo said the next four years of recruiting will be critical in determining how the Army plans to rebuild its recruiting force.
It said it is also working with the Department of Defense Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to improve the way it manages the recruitment process.
“The Army has an obligation to recruit the best people and to keep them,” Odiersnys letter said.
“Our recruitment efforts will need to change to keep pace with the growing number of candidates.
The military needs to change from recruiting the same type of individuals over and over again, to recruiting individuals who are different.
That requires a more integrated recruitment process.”
The Army said last week that it is considering a number of steps to address recruiting issues including using computer algorithms to predict how many candidates will be accepted and how many will be rejected.
The move comes after the Pentagon announced that it would not be cutting any personnel in key positions after the 2018 recruiting year.
But it also comes after Odiernicans letter said his office was still reviewing options to boost recruitment, including the creation of a recruitment office in every recruiting district, better recruitment tracking, and increased outreach to veterans, people with disabilities and others who may not have previously applied.
The US Army’s chief of staff is a top-level military official who heads up all military operations in the United States.
The general is responsible for recruiting the US Army.