Today’s workforce is more transient than in decades past, and struggles with more student debt, the rising cost of living and a volatile housing market. And military families, a typically steadfast source of new members, are turning to other pursuits. Against that backdrop, the Air Force says it’s having one of the toughest recruiting stretches of the past quarter-century.
“The big question culturally centers around the tension between expanding the pool of eligible candidates without lowering standards,” said Katherine Kuzminski, a military personnel expert at the Center for a New American Security.
Across the active duty Air Force, the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, the service brings in around 50,000 recruits each year. Every year, the Air Force sets its personnel goals based on current retention trends and which career fields are understaffed. Then, it sets out to find people whose skills, character and even home lives meet the Air Force’s own set of standards.
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