The U.S. Army failed to meet its recruiting goal for 2018, and a longtime military watchdog says a booming economy and the effects of the Obama era are taking a toll.
The Pentagon wants a 500,000-strong army by 2024 but it didn't fare well during the current fiscal year. The goal of 76,500 recruits fell short by approximately 6,500, an 8.5 percent shortfall, ABC News reported last month.
During a recent news conference, Chief of Staff General Mark Milley and Army Secretary Mark Esper told reporters it will take some time to overcome the recruiting challenges that caused them to miss their recruiting goal this year.
Proposed changes include moving into 20 more cities, adding recruiters, and beefing up the marketing campaign for 2019.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, says the strong economy is affecting recruiting efforts, since private employers are competing with the Pentagon, an observation seconded by Pentagon officials last month.
She tells OneNewsNow that a second reason is the "lingering effects" of the Obama era, including "diversity" quotas and the push to open up frontline combat jobs to women.
"In surveys of young people asking them are you inclined to join the military," says Donnelly, "they have repeatedly shown that women are not interested in being in the combat arms. Their propensity to be in the military at all is much lower than that of men."
Donnelly and the Center have fought the effort, led by feminists, to open up the military's most dangerous and demanding jobs to women, warning that it puts troops' safety at risk in the name of diversity.
Recruiters should stop chasing after young women who are more reluctant to sign up for the military, says Donnelly, and instead concentrate on those who are more likely to join and succeed in the military.