The U.S. military will likely miss its recruiting goal for new troops by nearly 40,000 over the next 2 years

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“We have unprecedented challenges with both a post-Covid-19 environment and labor market, but also private competition with private companies that have changed their incentives over time,” General Joseph Martin said. , Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee on Tuesday.

The Army predicts it will likely fall short of its FY 2022 recruiting goal of 10,000 soldiers and could miss the FY 2023 recruiting goal of 28,000 soldiers, according to Army estimates. .

Low unemployment has hampered the ability to recruit for a time, but the situation is worsening, with fewer and fewer Americans showing an interest in serving. There is also a decline in the number of physically skilled people. “That’s why we went from 29 percent to 23 percent of the population available to serve,” Martin said.

To entice more people to join, financial incentives are offered. The Army has also explored the idea of ​​no longer requiring recruits to have a high school diploma, but has not finalized a plan.

The statistics paint a grim picture. The Army is authorized to have up to 485,000 troops for FY22, but has already reduced that target to 476,000. At best, Martin said, the Army believes it will “land at 466 for this year for a final headcount”, leading to a potential shortfall of 10,000.

So far, the army has recruited 30,000 troops in FY22, half the target of 60,000 if the army were to reach the size of 476,000 troops. But an official told CNN the military no longer believes that is possible given the challenges it faces and that a shortage of 10,000 recruits is a likely scenario.

For FY23, the army size could shrink further to between 445,000 and 452,000, Martin said. The army will try to maintain a size of 455,000, but this will also be significantly lower than the original plan.

The good news for the military is that people who join seem to want to stay.

The retention target for FY22 was 55,900. As of July 7, the army has already exceeded its target by re-enlisting 57,738 soldiers, according to Army spokeswoman Col. Catherine Wilkinson.

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