Amid broader leadership delays and recruitment challenges, the United States Navy falls short of recruitment goals for this fiscal year.

In a recent announcement, acting Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Lisa Franchetti, revealed that the service has fallen short of its recruitment goals for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.

The shortfall amounts to approximately 7,000 sailors, marking a significant gap in the Navy’s personnel numbers for the year. However, Admiral Franchetti also noted that despite the challenges, there has been an improvement in recruitment month by month compared to the previous year.

At the start of the fiscal year, the Navy had anticipated an even larger gap, projecting a shortage of about 13,000 sailors. This recruitment challenge has been characterized as a “war for talent” by Admiral Franchetti. It underscores a broader issue within the US military regarding recruitment, with several factors contributing to the difficulties faced by the Navy.

Revamping Recruitment Strategies for a Competitive Job Market

One significant factor contributing to the recruitment crisis is the overall low rate of civilian unemployment. In a booming job market, fewer individuals may be inclined to consider a career in the military. Moreover, the criteria for eligibility and stricter medical screenings in recent years have further narrowed the pool of eligible candidates for the Navy and other branches of the US military.

To address these recruitment challenges and attract more qualified candidates, the US Navy has implemented a series of measures in FY 2023. Among these measures is an increase in the maximum enlistment bonus to $75,000. This financial incentive aims to make military service more appealing to potential recruits. Additionally, the Navy has raised the maximum enlistment age to 41, allowing older individuals to join the ranks.

Future Sailors Oath of Enlistment

Another notable initiative undertaken by the Navy is the launch of a pilot program in December. This program permits individuals who scored lower on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), a component of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), to enlist if their ASVAB individual line scores meet the qualifications for a specific Navy rating. Importantly, Admiral Franchetti emphasized that these changes do not signify a lowering of standards but rather an effort to expand the pool of qualified candidates.