Army Exceeds Fiscal Year 2021 End Strength Goal

Army Exceeds Fiscal Year 2021 End Strength Goal

Soldiers taking oath
Photo by: U.S. Army

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army has exceeded its fiscal year 2021 end strength goal of 485,900 Regular Army soldiers, the service announced.

The end strength for fiscal 2021 reached 486,490 soldiers, Lt. Gen. Gary Brito, deputy Army chief of staff for personnel, said in an Oct. 20 press release. He credited the success to talented recruiters who signed up new personnel, and soldiers who reenlisted to stay beyond their initial service obligation. 

The Army National Guard also exceeded its end strength goal of 336,500 soldiers, ending the year with 337,525 soldiers. The Army Reserve did not achieve its goal of 189,800 soldiers, ending the fiscal year with 184,358 soldiers. 

The Army also had success retaining soldiers already in the ranks, exceeding its retention goal by 1,852 soldiers, said Sgt. Maj. Mark Clark, senior enlisted adviser for personnel. 

“Overall, the Army retained 58,141 soldiers who were scheduled to transition, and an additional 6,618 soldiers elected to transition into the Army Reserve or Army National Guard,” he said in the press release.

These latest numbers come as the Army moves forward with sweeping changes to the way it recruits, retains and manages soldiers’ careers. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville has said that soldiers must no longer be treated as interchangeable parts distinguished only by rank and MOS. Instead, the Army is looking to capitalize and focus on an individual’s knowledge, skills and preferences.

“We’re in a war for talent,” McConville has said. “We have to compete for young men and women, and we have to compete for their talents, and we have to compete for them to stay in the Army.”

Brito credits leadership across the Army with helping the service exceed its end strength goal. 

“The Army is a learning organization that evolves constantly to adapt to the changing environment, and that includes how we fight for and retain talented soldiers,” he said. “The emphasis from our leaders at all echelons to meet the needs of our people and care for our soldiers and our families has made the Army a competitive organization for more people—talented people—to join our team.”

Meeting and exceeding end strength goals are key to maintaining the Army’s readiness, Brito said. 

“Twenty-first century talent management is more than just an idea, it’s how we will continue to meet our end strength goals in future years,” said Brito. “Our innovative talent initiatives and policy updates are essential to our force readiness and our ability to fight and win America’s conflicts.”