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Military recruitment numbers trend downward

The Army missed its recruiting mission for Fiscal Year 2022 by 25% or 15,000 soldiers
Posted at 6:42 AM, Jun 27, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As many employers continue to struggle with hiring and retaining people, the troubling trend is impacting our military too. Recruitment numbers continue to decline across the nation impacting several branches of the military.

The Army missed its recruiting mission for Fiscal Year 2022 by 25% or 15,000 soldiers, and more branches are expecting recruiting shortfalls for this fiscal year which ends September 30th.

KGUN 9 sat down with a Navy recruiter who covers our region, New Mexico, and some parts of Texas about why numbers are trending down here at home.

“The challenging environment now is not just for the military but for the civilian side as well. It's just very hard to get qualified applicants through the system because we have more restrictions when it comes to medical requirements and physical requirements,” said Jasen Moreno, Arizona Public Affairs Recruiting Officer.

Those requirements shifted during the pandemic as military recruiting became more difficult as they rely on crowded events like career fairs and face-to-face interactions.

The tight labor market has also forced many companies to increase wages and offer more incentives to attract the best talent– resulting in recruiters struggling to reach quota.

But, members of the military say retention can be salvaged by making military life better, like offering more money, better benefits and improved family housing and child care conditions and these are areas the Department of Defense is exploring.

It is normal for recruiting numbers to be a little bit slower in the summertime but most branches nationwide are hoping to see that influx of people enlisting in the service before the end of this fiscal year in September.

"Our main goal is to get the best qualified applicant that we can because we want to build the for tomorrow, and you're only as strong as your assets and our main assets are people," said Moreno.

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Brooke Chau is a reporter for KGUN 9. She was a part of Fresno State's newscast, Fresno State Focus and interned at KFSN-ABC30 in Fresno, CA before coming to KGUN 9. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brooke by emailing brooke.chau@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.