Tough times for today’s recruiters

The military services face the toughest recruiting environment in a generation, as the most recent data shows interest in military service at its lowest level in more than 25 years.

Internal Defense Department surveys tracking the opinions of potential recruits — mostly young men ages 16 to 21 — show the inclination toward military service has fallen dramatically since the end of the Cold War, with an exceptionally rapid nosedive since 2004.

The services continue to meet their recruiting goals, even with expanded numbers due to an increase in the size of the Army and Marine Corps, but it’s not easy. Low unemployment always means that potential recruits have a greater number of choices, and the ongoing war will, obviously, make many young people think twice about joining up.

Retention of existing personnel continues to exceed expectations, but I’ve long feared that a major drawdown in Iraq, or even an extended lull in the action, may lead to a large exodus from the military as those staying in to see the mission through or to support their buddies see an opening to get out.


  1. i dunno what this article is talking about?? when i was at MEPS in february it was jammed pack with recruits and everytime i go for our DEP meetings there are always many new faces. And thats just one small section of our city.

  2. Well, technically, it’s not about recruiting per se but a survey of young men asking them about their attitudes toward military service. The survey results are down badly, which might signal a long-term problem because potential recruits don’t look on service as favorably as in the past. While no doubt this could be trouble, it certainly doesn’t seem to be having a major effect on today’s recruiting.