After failing to meet its enlistment goal in 2018 for the first time in 13 years, the Army is now expected to meet a lower 2019 target after revamping its recruitment effort, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief Gen. James McConville told the AP that the service expects to enlist more than 68,000 active duty soldiers for fiscal 2019 ending Sept. 30. The senior leaders also acknowledged increased use of social media and other new online methods has helped to find potential recruits, the AP reported.
“We’re smoothing out the Army’s growth,” McConville said. “What we want to do is have modest growth over the next couple of years. And we’re trying to make sure that the end strength we have is high quality.”
In 2018 the Army enlisted about 70,000 new active duty recruits, below its 76,500 enlistment target amid low unemployment and competition from higher-paying civilian opportunities.
The leaders dispute that they lowered enlistment goals to meet expectations, according to the report. They plan to gradually grow the force from 476,000 members in FY 2018 about 490,000 by 2024.
McConville and McCarthy said that it took time to institute changes in the recruiting over the past year but that the shifts have started to show promise. Recruiters have an additional 13,000 recruits under contract to enlist in FY 2020 that begins Oct. 1, which will contribute next year’s totals. They said the recruiting goal for next year will be between 68,000 and 69,000.
AP file photo by Gregory Bull