US Navy Falls Short of Recruiting Goal

( – The US Army and Air Force are expected to meet their recruitment goals in 2024, but the Navy will not. Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, head of personnel, said recruitment continues to pose “challenges,” and the Navy expects to finish the year around 6,700 recruits short of its 40,600 requirement. Mr. Cheeseman added that senior personnel continue to explore ways to make military life more attractive to young Americans.

Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations, recently reported to Congress about the shortfall and said that for current operations, 18,000 more people are needed for the sea and around 4,000 for land.

In January, the Navy announced plans to eliminate high school graduation requirements to attract applicants. That decision followed a 2022 alteration that allowed people to join even if they did poorly on the Armed Services Qualification Test (ASQT). Under the rules announced in January, individuals who did not graduate from high school or obtain a GED can join the Navy if they score 50 or higher on the ASQT.

Vice Adm. Cheeseman said there are thousands of applicants turned away every year because they have no formal qualification, and he estimates that last year, around 500 of those would have passed the admissions test.

At the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference in January, Vice Adm. Brendan McLane, commander of Naval Surface Forces, warned that the US Navy will face significant operational obstacles within a few years if recruitment figures do not improve. He said to fix the problem, it is crucial to understand why young people do not wish to sign up.

A survey conducted by Joint Advertising Marketing Research & Studies in the fall of 2022 found that 70% of Americans aged 16 to 24 are not opting for military life because they fear being killed. In second place, 65% of responders cited physical or psychological injury as the main deterrent, while 58% said they did not want to leave family and friends behind when deployed.

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