Washington News Bureau

Military changing the way it attracts people to serve after missing recruitment goals

WASHINGTON — Problems with military recruitment are a national security issue, according to Army, Navy and Air Force leaders. They testified in front of Congress this week to answer questions about how they’re trying to attract more people to serve our country.

In a Senate committee hearing, a discussion we’ve been having with military leaders and military family advocates, was in the spotlight.

“I’m not surprised, frankly, that we have a recruiting challenge in our services because we have a workforce challenge,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said.

Lawmakers worry a workforce challenge for the armed forces means possible problems defending our country.

“For the past fifty years, our armed services have been filled by recruits, and today recruiting is not going well,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said.

Many Republicans point to what they call the “woke military” culture as a cause of recruiting and readiness challenges. Senators questioned the secretaries about this.

“Gen. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps was recently asked a similar question and he said there was ‘zero evidence,’ that’s a quote, ‘zero evidence’ that all these initiatives have impacted our readiness,” Erik Raven, Under Secretary of the Navy, said.

Since most of the branches missed their recruiting goals last year, this panel said they’re now changing how they recruit.

“The Army is experimenting with turning every soldier into a recruiter through our soldier referral program,” Gabriel Camarillo, Under Secretary of the Army, said.

The services are also working to change the message in their marketing.

“We are in a competition for talent,” Under Secretary Raven said. “The world is changing around us. There are Americans, who are less propense to serve. We need to get at that with a real campaign of what it means to serve our country.”

Leaders said they’re also addressing many of the quality of life issues we’ve been reporting on, including not being able to afford food, childcare concerns and military spouse unemployment. Advocates believe all of those factors impact both recruitment and retention.

The committee chair believes this information helps lawmakers as they move forward with budget requests and legislation.

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