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The U.S. Army is falling short of its recruitment goals. She has a plan for that

The Army is recalculating the number of soldiers it expects to have in the force over the coming years.
Stephen B. Morton
/
AP
The Army is recalculating the number of soldiers it expects to have in the force over the coming years.

For years, the U.S. Army has not been able to meet its annual recruitment goal. The Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, is rolling out a plan to address that.

What is it? Well, a little bit of something old, and a little bit of something new.

  • The Army is bringing back its iconic ad with the slogan, "Be all you can be," which was everywhere in the '80s, hoping to inspire new recruits and perhaps touch on that nostalgia nerve too.

  • But more broadly, the Pentagon is seeking to widen the net for recruits; focusing less on traditional pools and seeking to expand to new groups.

What's the big deal? Well, for nearly a decade, the Army has been falling short of its recruitment goals, and the shortage doesn't seem to be getting better.


What are people saying? The Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, spoke to All Things Considered about the specifics with this recruiting strategy, and how they hope to adapt.

On bringing in college students and immigrants:

On why recruiting has become such a struggle:


Want more on the U.S.? Listen to Consider This on how a government shutdown could impact millions of Americans.


On declining American trust in the military:

U.S. Army National Guard member Sgt. Jessica Jones, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, distributes brochures to people walking by during training in April, 2022 in Washington.
Mariam Zuhaib / AP
/
AP
U.S. Army National Guard member Sgt. Jessica Jones, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, distributes brochures to people walking by during training in April, 2022 in Washington.

So, what now?

  • The Army isn't the only branch of the military struggling to attract new members: The Navy and the Air Force also fell short of their goals last year.
  • Wormuth says that despite these difficulties, she's always open to difficult questions from possible recruits: "I absolutely welcome critics. I mean, I believe in the product, if you will."


Learn more:

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.