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As just about anyone in the military will tell you, recruiting duty isn’t the easiest assignment. And it apparently isn’t getting any better if you’re actually good at the job. According to Brian McGovern, a spokesperson with Army Recruiting Command, the service is now “extending the recruiting tour of selected high-performing” recruiters; 267 of them, to be exact. 

In other words, if you’re good at recruiting — which is generally a temporary duty lasting 3 years — you may get rewarded with not being able to go to a new assignment. 

“The Army is facing greater challenges in meeting recruiting missions in the current Post-COVID Recruiting environment, so extending experienced high-performing Recruiting NCOs will aid us as we work to meet the challenges presented in this environment,” McGovern told Task & Purpose.

While recruiters often take some flak for promising would-be soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines a paid vacation and a cool job, only for them to discover that their expectations did not match with reality — it’s hardly an easy job, especially these days, with long hours the norm and challenges abound.

As Task & Purpose previously reported, the Army’s 2023 budget calls for a reduction in the service’s end strength, from 1,010,500 to 998,500 soldiers. But the service still needs to recruit 60,000 new soldiers by October and is running into trouble. According to one Army report, 50% of kids say they don’t know anything about military service and that the majority of military recruits come from just eight states: California, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas.

Chief among the recruiting challenges facing the Army is that it can’t seem to consistently reach Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012. 

There’s been plenty of speculation about Gen Z  coming into adulthood and how they will adapt to a military environment. Some have argued that playing video games all day might make you a better service member, while others have raised concerns that couch-bound gamers simply can’t keep up with the rigors of the military because of their “sedentary lifestyle.” 

But the Army carries a fair share of the blame for failing to get Gen Z recruits’ signatures on the dotted line. As the Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, told Task & Purpose in May, young Americans may be hesitant to enlist due to the Army’s handling of serious issues like suicide and sexual assault.

It’s not like members of Gen Z aren’t serving in the military. Almost everyone who was on the ground during the evacuation of Kabul was someone who grew up with Kabul just being a place seen on television.

The hurdle, it would seem, is getting more of those Gen Z soldiers into the ranks. According to McGovern, the Army is “facing greater challenges in meeting recruiting missions in the current Post-COVID Recruiting environment, so extending experienced high-performing Recruiting NCOs will aid us as we work to meet the challenges presented in this environment.”

But if you’re good at Army recruiting? Expect to stay there, because no one else can sign people up.

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