By Ashley Nation
Military recruitment for 2022 has been desolate for all military branches as they lag over 20% behind their recruitment goals. In response to this, the military has been stacking on incentives to draw in more recruits, but some have called their newest measures desperate. Regardless, if you’re considering joining the military, now may be your time.

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Why Is Military Recruitment Struggling?

The number of Americans eligible to serve has been at an all-time low, and the number of those willing to volunteer is even lower. Only about 9% of the young Americans able to serve are willing to sign up. Many U.S. Military officials have come forth to confirm these numbers. In January of 2022, in an interview with NBC News, Retired Lieutenant General Thomas Spoehr stated his belief that “this is the start of a long drought for military recruiting.” The average military sign-on bonus is anywhere between $2,000 to $9,000. For the first time in a long time, the Army recently offered up to $50,000 in Army enlistment bonuses to highly skilled recruits willing to sign up for six years. It’s no wonder that recruits joked about waiting a little longer to join the crew.

Requirements To Join the Military

Do you need a diploma to join the military? In June 2022, the answer to this question would’ve been no. In an effort to increase military recruitment, the Army announced it would waive the requirement for a high school diploma or GED for “a limited number” of recruits. This addendum to the Army’s military requirements backfired, as people claimed it looked like an act of desperation. Conversely, the waiver only applied to recruits who could not complete high school due to caring for a sick loved one or having to work full-time for their family. The U.S. Army Command shared that they wanted to recruit potential military personnel with a “whole of person approach.” While arguably well-meaning, it’s no coincidence this waiver appeared at a time when branches are in dire need of applicants. Not even a full week later, they reversed this policy after heavy criticism. The U.S. Army Recruiting Commander of Fort Knox, Kentucky, said in a press release, “Recruiting in the current environment is a challenge, and we have positions we need to fill right now.” In other words, we need bodies – lots of them. The failed diploma waiver was not their only amendment. They recently became more flexible on their tattoo policy, allowing for one small tattoo on each arm. Military recruiters for all branches are pulling as many tricks out of the bag as possible.

What Does This Mean for Future Military Recruitment?

Statistics show that the number of available and willing recruits reduces every year. Already 70% of Americans are ineligible due to mental health issues, past drug use, criminal records, or lack of a high school degree. Military recruitment is difficult enough on its own, but recent years are proving to be a different beast. We can only assume it’ll become more of a struggle as the years go by. Many people accused the Army of lowering its standards to meet recruitment goals; however, amendments may have to be made in the future if this trend persists. Military recruits are going up against an increasingly competitive job market. We predict recruitment will eventually have to be just as incentivized as entry-level jobs are becoming in the labor force to compete with the rapidly-declining military recruitment numbers.

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Image: U.S. Army



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