October 01, 2019

The Army may have hit this year's recruiting goal, but the service still has a long way to go

By Emma Moore

A year after missing its recruitment goals for the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Army announced on Sept. 17 that it will meet its target of 68,000 new soldiers for the 2019 fiscal year.

But despite touting new initiatives, digital platforms, and marketing techniques (and lowering its goal by 12,000 in 2019 amid a more modest growth plan in the next five years), the Army is not in the clear yet. The service's new initiatives should be the expectation rather than considered innovative — and if the Army really wants to make good on its modernization promises, it has to ask hard questions about current processes.

The Army's modern outreach initiatives have certainly seen initial success. Army representation in 22 cities without traditionally strong recruitment saw an average 15 percent increase in enlistments, according to U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), including a "double-digit lift with females and minorities" that increased the number of women in the Army by nearly an entire percent (17.1 to 18 percent). Many young women do not see themselves as having a role in the military, highlighting the importance of these gains.

New tools are making a difference, too. The service's 44 new virtual recruiting stations led to 3,000 enlistment contracts alone, according to USAREC commander Maj. Gen. Frank Muth; social media sites offered a new point of contact and information sharing, while the e-sports and warrior fitness teams garnered millions of impressions.

Read the full article in Task & Purpose.

Learn more from Emma Moore's January 2019 piece in Task & Purpose about the potential lessons from the British Army's recruitment campaign:

Military, Veterans, & Society

What The US Army Should Learn From the British Army’s Punchy Recruiting Campaign

The U.S. Army will always face challenges recruiting the soldiers it needs, but an uphill battle is no excuse not to strive to do better —or learn from other countries' modern...

Read More
  • Commentary
    • March 31, 2020
    Women in Combat: Five-Year Status Update

    It has been five years since the ban on women in combat was lifted in 2015 and women began integrating previously closed combat arms billets in January 2016. Five years is the...

    By Emma Moore

  • Commentary
    • March 27, 2020
    Sharper: Global Coronavirus Response

    As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...

    By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Commentary
    • The Hill
    • March 17, 2020
    Coronavirus pandemic illustrates the need to maintain a strong VA

    Schools, offices, and other businesses are shutting down nationwide as the United States ramps up its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we read about the extreme strain pl...

    By Kayla M. Williams

  • Commentary
    • Task and Purpose
    • March 16, 2020
    How the US military's coronavirus response may screw over the reserves

    The endless pursuit of lethality combined with perverse incentives for commanders means the U.S. military’s reserve component risks being left in the lurch by the government’s...

    By Emma Moore

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia