US Army failed to reach troop recruiting target in 2021
Part of the issue was that vacant jobs are plentiful and available workers are scarce - particularly jobs in the civilian sector that boomed during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic measures.
Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth told an audience at the Center for a New American Security on Friday that the US Army failed to reach its 2021 recruitment target by 25%.
Wormuth said that a total of 60,000 recruits would have satisfied this requirement.
"We recruited 45,000 soldiers last year: Our goal was 60,000," Wormuth said. "That's a pretty serious shortfall."
The reasons, as cited by Wormuth, include a tight job market in the civilian sector
Wormuth said part of the problem was that vacant jobs are plentiful and available workers are scarce - particularly jobs in the civilian sector that boomed during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic measures.
The secretary added that only 23% of young Americans were deemed fit enough to join the Army because the remaining fell below fitness and intelligence standards due to obesity issues and poor schooling.
Furthermore, only 9% of young Americans showed interest in joining the army.
"When only 9% of kids are interested in serving, we have got to make sure that we are careful about not alienating wide swaths of the American public to the Army," Wormuth said in October.
The US military sought to revamp its numbers and had set the goal of recruiting 65,000 new troops in the coming year, Wormuth added.
Declining Recruitment Rates in the US Army
The US Air Force has acknowledged the reluctance of recruits to join its ranks, especially among minorities.
The current situation is the result of repressive practices against demonstrators which came at the heels of the killing of African American citizen George Floyd.
The Air Force and other military branches are concerned about the decline not only of young new recruits, but also of the long-term survival of others in the armed forces, especially among the ranks of "black and Hispanic males, and women as well".
A study conducted by the Pentagon indicated a 2% decline in the rate of joining the ranks of the armed forces during the past two years. It also revealed that the rate of African American interest decreased from 20% in 2019 to 11% the following year, and fell again to 8% in the fall of 2020.
Floyd's death led to widespread protests in the US and abroad against the excessive use of force by the police against people of color, which was interspersed with acts of violence and the deployment of the US National Guard in a number of states.
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