• Heritage Action
  • More

Recruiting for the Long War: Has Military Recruiting Reached its Efficient Frontier?

Recorded on March 6, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

In January, Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, Commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, told Congress that "propensity, the desire to enlist in the Armed Forces, is at its lowest point in two decades."  Since its inception, the all-volunteer force has sustained itself by relying upon the pool of America's talented and patriotic youth.  However, today it is estimated that only 3 out of every 10 American youth are eligible for military service.  Sustained overseas deployments for the past six years have also placed the all-volunteer force under immense stress.

As the Long War continues, military recruiters have found it increasingly difficult to attract acceptable candidates.  With recruiting percentages slowly leveling off, is it possible that the military has reached its efficient recruiting frontier?  What will it take to ensure the continued health of military recruiting and preserving the all-volunteer force, especially while America's ground forces grow by 92,000 in the coming years?