US Army unlikely to hit 2018 recruitment goal

May fall short by about 6,000

By BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT
Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Low unemployment combined with a strong economy means the US Army is unlikely to meet its recruitment goal for the 2018 fiscal year, according to army officials.

About 70,000 have signed up so far this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, meaning the Army is unlikely to meet its target of 76,500.

An Army official also blamed the low enlistment rates on a "declining propensity to serve," and a failure of recruits to qualify due to factors such as obesity.

"About 70,000 Americans joined the Regular Army in FY18, the most to enlist in a single year since 2010 -- and every single recruit either met or exceeded DoD standards. The Army will fall short of its 2018 recruiting goal. We made a decision to raise the quality of our recruits despite the tough recruiting environment," the Army said in a statement.

The 70,000 personnel that joined include about 4,000 to 5,000 recruits with prior military service, along with other personnel already in the recruiting process. 57,683 new recruits had joined the Army through August 18.

Around 476,000 troops currently serve in the Army and the goal is to expand that to 500,000 by 2024.

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