Even though President Biden HAS disengaged from fighting in most places oversea’s?
Young people ain’t lining up to ‘join’…..
So the recuiter’s are trying their best to ‘shake the trees’….
The local Army recruiting station was empty. The normally reliable recruiting grounds at the nearby Walmart were a bust. With the Army still thousands of soldiers short of its recruiting goal, the station commander, Sgt. First Class James Pulliam, dressed head to toe in camouflage, scanned a strip-mall parking lot for targets.
He spotted a young woman getting out of a car, and put on his best salesman smile.
“Hey, how’d you know I was going to be here today!” the sergeant said with an affable Carolina drawl, as if greeting an old friend. “I’m going to help put you in the Army!”
These are tough times for military recruiting. Almost across the board, the armed forces are experiencing large shortfalls in enlistments this year — a deficit of thousands of entry-level troops that is on pace to be worse than any since just after the Vietnam War. It threatens to throw a wrench into the military’s machinery, leaving critical jobs unfilled and some platoons with too few people to function….
Less than a quarter of young American adults are physically fit to enlist and have no disqualifying criminal record, a proportion that has shrunk steadily in recent years. And shifting attitudes toward military service mean that now only about one in 10 young people say they would even consider it….
To try to counter those forces, the military has pushed enlistment bonuses as high as $50,000, and is offering “quick ship” cash of up to $35,000 for certain recruits who can leave for basic training in 30 days. To broaden the recruiting pool, the service branches have loosened their restrictions on neck tattoos and other standards. In June, the Army even briefly dropped its requirement for a high school diploma, before deciding that was a bad move and rescinding the change.
The Army is the largest of the armed forces, and the recruiting shortfall is hitting it the hardest. As of late June, it had recruited only about 40 percent of the roughly 57,000 new soldiers it wants to put in boots by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
So Sergeant Pulliam, 41, a helicopter mechanic who turned to recruiting five years ago, was hunting for anyone who might want to join, even if they did not know it yet….
The military has also adapted by downsizing. The number of active-duty service members is now about half of what it was in the 1980s, and is projected to keep decreasing.
That makes for smaller, easier-to-meet quotas, recruiters say, but it also diminishes the military’s most reliable advertising tool: its people. Research has repeatedly shown that young adults who know someone who has served — a parent, a coach, a teacher — are more likely to enlist than those who do not.
That pattern has made the armed forces something of a family business, and led to some communities, many of them in the Southeast, supplying a disproportionate share of recruits. But even in those kinds of communities, recruiting has been tough this year….
image….Credit…Michael Ciaglo for The New York Times