June 02, 2022

Most military recruits come from families of people who served. Experts say that's not sustainable.

Source: The American Homefront Project

Journalist: Jonathan Ahl

The military is having a tough time finding new recruits, and one factor may be its heavy reliance on families of those who’ve served.

The U.S. Military's new recruiting classes are heavily tilted toward family members of people who've served. That's raising questions about the sustainability of military recruiting practices, especially during one of the worst recruiting years in decades.

Half way through this year’s recruiting process, the Army was only at 23% of its goal. The other branches are seeing similar numbers.


Critics say the military needs to broaden its recruiting base.

“Really, the time to change this reliance on the military children pipeline to the military was several years ago,” said Nathalie Grogan, who researches military and veterans for the Center for New American Security, a Washington D.C. think tank that is largely funded by military contractors.

“Not every military child goes on to serve, so that pool gets smaller. It's a vicious cycle, and it’s not sustainable in the future,” Grogan said.

Read the full story and more from The American Homefront Project.


  • Nathalie Grogan

    Former Research Associate, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Nathalie Grogan is a former Research Associate for the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at CNAS. Her research focused on the National Guard and military families. Groga...