Military a Tough Sell

From the May 1999 Trumpet Print Edition

Across the U.S., the armed forces are experiencing a serious decline in recruitment numbers. High schools are seeing a dramatic decline in teen interest in the armed forces. The latest shortfall is presenting the military with one of the largest manpower problems in its history.

It appears Generation Y simply doesn’t feel that the military is a viable option for a career anymore. They have altogether lost interest in internal and foreign affairs; they simply don’t care about what is going on in the world, say high school and military academy recruiters.

Many youth feel that the “hard work” of enlistment makes the armed forces unappealing. Getting up early, a regimented schedule, responsibility and being told what to do rank among the military taboos of today’s teens.

In 1999 the army estimates a shortfall of 6,000 to 10,000 recruits. In a desperate effort to reverse the trend, the military will begin airing a flood of paid advertisements across the U.S. to pique teen interest. In 1998, 40 percent of soldiers did not complete their first enlistment, sending a danger signal to military recruiters and manpower planners.