The Challenge of Filling the Army's Ranks : Consider This from NPR In the 1980s the U.S. Army launched a recruiting drive around the slogan, "Be all you can be." They've relaunched the slogan now as the push is on to make up for a drop off in recruitment.

The Army is having a hard time convincing potential recruits that the military is the best place to reach their full potential. Last year, the Army was 15,000 soldiers short of its recruiting goal.

Army surveys have found that many potential recruits don't want to join because they fear getting wounded or killed, even though the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over. And the tight labor market means recruits have lots of other job opportunities.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth about the struggle to staff up the largest branch of the U.S. military. NPR's Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman provides additional reporting for this episode.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

The Challenge of Filling the Army's Ranks

The Challenge of Filling the Army's Ranks

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1198908416/1204024766" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Staff Sargent Joshua Spearman talks to fairgoers at the Army recruitment tent at the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minn., on Thursday, August 31, 2023. Photo by Jenn Ackerman @ackermangruber Ackerman + Gruber/Ackerman + Gruber hide caption

toggle caption
Ackerman + Gruber/Ackerman + Gruber

Staff Sargent Joshua Spearman talks to fairgoers at the Army recruitment tent at the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minn., on Thursday, August 31, 2023. Photo by Jenn Ackerman @ackermangruber

Ackerman + Gruber/Ackerman + Gruber

In the 1980s the U.S. Army launched a recruiting drive around the slogan, "Be all you can be." They've relaunched the slogan now as the push is on to make up for a drop off in recruitment.

The Army is having a hard time convincing potential recruits that the military is the best place to reach their full potential. Last year, the Army was 15,000 soldiers short of its recruiting goal.

Army surveys have found that many potential recruits don't want to join because they fear getting wounded or killed, even though the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over. And the tight labor market means recruits have lots of other job opportunities.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth about the struggle to staff up the largest branch of the U.S. military. NPR's Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman provides additional reporting for this episode.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Lauren Hodges, Connor Donevan and Vincent Acovino. It was edited by Lee Hale, Andrew Sussman and Adam Raney. Our executive producer is Sami Yenigun.