The Army is not releasing its recruitment target for fiscal 2020, at least for the time being.
Recruiters have been given an initial range that closely mirrors fiscal 2019, but other factors like soldier retention will shape the final number.
Although the service surpassed its end-strength goal for last year, the Army received some negative press for reducing its recruitment goals since failing to meet the original target of 80,000 recruits in 2018. Officials reduced the goal to 76,500, but still came up short.
“People will focus on a number,” said Gen. James McConville, the Army chief of staff, while speaking to reporters last week. “If I tell you the number is 68,000 or 69,000 and I come back in April and I say ‘Guess what, it’s 65,’ you’ll go, ‘You’re just lowering the bar because you couldn’t make it.’”
Despite reaching its target of 68,000 new recruits in 2019, McConville said the service had a surplus of 5,000 new soldiers. And If the Army finishes 2020 above the personnel end-strength goal, some recruits could be shifted over to 2021, according to Army Times.
“We don’t want to go over by too much because we have to pay salaries for people we may not need,” he said.
The Army National Guard hit its recruiting target during last fiscal year, bringing in 39,000 new soldiers nationwide. An additional 1,200 Guard recruiters have been added to the force over the last two fiscal years, and the Guard’s new multimedia campaign “Hometown Soldier” also helped attract more recruits.
Army officials said key selling points were the service’s ability to help with student loans and its ability to push soldiers into the middle class.
At the end of fiscal 2019, the Army’s end-strength sat at 478,000 soldiers in the active component, 335,500 in the National Guard and an additional 189,250 soldiers in the Army Reserve.