Is Soldier Recruiting Up? Army Claims Yes But Won't Say by How Much


The is in a slump, struggling to pitch service to a skeptical Gen Z or even to find enough qualified candidates to join. But just how deep in the hole are the Army's recruiting numbers? It won't say.

The service has declined to provide the basic recruiting data, despite Army Secretary Christine Wormuth repeatedly telling Congress it is doing better on recruiting this year compared to last year, when it came up 15,000 soldiers short of its goal of bringing in 60,000 new troops.

On April 5, Military.


com first requested the data on how many new soldiers enlisted for each quarter for the current and previous fiscal years. But the Army has balked for weeks, and service officials also declined to give the publication a reason it was withholding the data.

"We have seen an increase across the force in each quarter," Madison Bonzo, an Army spokesperson, told in a statement. "We expect to finish the third quarter strong and continue this momentum as we move into the fourth quarter."

Lawmakers broadly see the Army's recruiting slump as one of the top issues for the Pentagon.

The Army is by far the largest branch and is key to bolstering NATO's front lines in Europe and training Ukrainians on American weapons systems.


The Army is also in the midst of shifting its doctrine and focus toward conventional warfare in the Pacific, which is going to require large formations of soldiers and a shift from the Global War on Terror, where most combat was relatively small skirmishes against poorly equipped insurgents.

"We are seeing improvements in our recruiting situation. We are better off this year than before the previous year," Wormuth at a hearing May 2.

The service has made changes that could boost the number of new recruits, including a pre-basic training course for applicants who fall outside the service's body fat or academic standards.


If those applicants can comply within 90 days, they can move on to basic training.

Those courses have the capacity to graduate about 12,000 recruits per year into basic training, a massive batch of enlistees the Army wouldn't have otherwise been able to bring in.

But even with a boost from new initiatives, Wormuth and other senior officials have complicated the recruiting picture by warning publicly that the service will still not meet its goals.

"At the same time, the chief and I set a very ambitious goal of 65,000 recruits this year," Wormuth said during testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense panel. "We are not going to make that goal. We are doing everything we can to get as close to it as possible."