A disturbing fact has emerged from one department of the American military: The U.S. Air Force failed to meet any of its recruiting targets for both enlisted officers and personnel in National Guard, Reserve and active duty components.
An Air Force spokesperson confirmed that information to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Official recruitment numbers aren’t available yet from the Air Force, but they have produced internal estimates. Those projections, which were completed on September 18, show the Air Force only achieved 89% of its overall goal for new active duty and enlisted troops.
While the department was aiming for 27,851 of these troops for the most recent fiscal year that ended on September 30, they only recruited 24,923 people, according to Deana Heitzman, a master sergeant for the Air Force.
Heitzman further told the DCNF that the total shortfall for active duty personnel was roughly 11%. Both the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserved missed their own goals by more than 30%.
Last month, Frank Kendall, the secretary of the Air Force, said they were projected to miss their accessions targets by about 10% for active duty. This marks the first time that these recruiting goals have been missed in more than 20 years.
Kendall recently told Military.com:
“We’re almost to the end of the fiscal year, and the expectation is we’re going to come in short about 10%. I’m overall encouraged by where we are in recruiting, but we still have a lot of work.”
As of September 18, the Air Force Reserve had only achieved 69% of its goal of recruiting 9,300 airmen. The Air National Guard, meanwhile, had only reached 63% of its goal of 12,941 new enlisted personnel and officers.
A spokesperson for the Air Force commented to Military.com that they were “cautiously optimistic” about the year ahead. Part of the reason for that optimism is the recent growth of the delayed-entry program, which allows high school students to “reserve” Air Force jobs before they head off to basic training.
In the meantime, though, the slump in recruiting could have long-ranging effects on the Air Force. Christine Wormuth, the secretary of the Army, said back in July that it might take “years” for their department to overcome its current slump in recruitment.
Many chiefs of the service departments say the current crisis in recruitment is due to a number of factors. One is that the civilian job market is quite competitive. They also blame the younger generation’s lack of familiarity with serving in the military as a whole, as well as their lack of ability to meet either the academic or physical standards that are required for service.
At the same time that the Air Force and Army are having problems recruiting, though, the Marine Corps. Is doing quite well. The service met its goal for recruiting, as Commandant General Eric Smith posted on social media channels at the end of September.