Camarillo: Army is Reforming, Modernizing Recruiting

Camarillo: Army is Reforming, Modernizing Recruiting

Photo by: U.S Army National Guard/Spc. John Trapani

The Army is facing “significant challenges” with recruiting, but the service is working to “reform and modernize … for today’s landscape,” a senior leader said. 

“Today's recruiting landscape did not emerge overnight, and it will take more than one year to solve,” Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo testified March 22 before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing to explore recruiting challenges facing the military. “We need to address a combination of challenging long-term problems and current market trends that are together having an acute impact.” 

Though the Army missed last year’s recruiting goal of 60,000 soldiers by 15,000, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said this year’s goal has been upped to 65,000. 

The Army has taken several steps as it tries to improve recruiting, including a recent revival of “Be All You Can Be,” a recruiting slogan that first appeared in the 1980s. It has also introduced several recruiting and retention incentives, Camarillo said. 

“To change how we recruit, we're incentivizing high performers to become recruiters in the Army. We're improving their training, assigning them to communities where they have ties,” he said. 

The Army’s Soldier Referral Program, which offers promotion incentives to soldiers who refer prospects who end up shipping to basic training, “has already generated 4,900 referrals and 68 recruits this year,” he said. 

Army leaders also are focused on dispelling myths about service in the Army, Camarillo said. “We need to reintroduce ourselves … to the American public as a career destination of choice that creates and expands opportunities for our young people,” he said. “That is the message we're starting to tell, and that is how we're trying to reinforce that people can be all you can be in the Army.” 

As the country’s largest service, diversity is at the forefront of the Army’s recruiting priorities, Camarillo said. “We need to cast that wide net for talent and make sure that the Army is a place where everybody sees that they have a role,” he said.  That includes … geographic diversity, diversity of perspective [and] different parts of the country that we haven't recruited in before.” 

Though the needs of America’s youngest service-eligible individuals are unique, the call to serve in the Army’s pitch to eligible youth remains the same. “We want … you to serve your country,” Camarillo said. “Come be a part of something bigger than yourself, be a part of our national security and be a part of the greatest fighting force in the world.”

On April 11, Camarillo will discuss recruiting and other key Army topics at an Association of the U.S. Army Coffee Series event. Registration is required. For more information, click here.