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Facing Biggest Mission Yet, U.S. Army Struggles To Recruit

Photo of the Uncle Sam 'I want you for the U.S. Army' poster
Wikimedia Commons

Last spring, the Army told recruiters it expected them to enlist 6,000 new soldiers – the largest mid-year increase in its history. It recently also upped its yearly recruitment goal to an unexpected high of 80,000.

The Army is taking steps to fulfill the mission, like adding 4,000 recruiters and launching social media campaigns to reach a new crop of young people. But getting enlistees to sign up is a tougher sell than ever these days given high rates of ineligibility due to the growing obesity rate, a negative perception of armed service and a widening gulf between military and civilian families.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC military reporter Jay Price about the Army’s new efforts to recruit more Americans than ever and the challenges it faces in doing so. His piece was produced as part of the American Homefront Project.

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Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.