Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, U.S. Army Recruitment Command surpassed its goal of recruiting 57,500 active duty soldiers last fiscal year. But it fell short on the reserve side, filling 11,690 of 15,875 targeted slots, Military Times reported.

Now, with fewer recruiters, it is being forced to modernize how it signs up new trainees.

The reduction from roughly 10,000 recruiters to about 9,000 is part of the Army-wide push to keep more staff sergeants in operational roles.

The Army’s plan for fiscal year 2022 is to assign each recruiter a quota and a geographical area where they can better build community relationships.

“We are now trying to change the mindset of the folks who have been in recruiting for a while,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, USAREC commander, told reporters recently. “It’s mission command — we’re allowing our NCOs to assume responsibility, to have and own a mission, and to deliver on their mission.”

Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hernandez