The Navy has learned the hard way that recruiting becomes more difficult as the national economy—despite rumblings of coming change—continues to expand. The career and educational choices available to American youth are greater than ever before. Unemployment is at some of the lowest measured rates in three decades. In addition, the population of veterans will decline drastically in the next decade, taking away prime examples of military service from society. All these factors will only worsen (from the Navy's perspective) in this new environment, making recruiting even harder. The Navy soon must learn how to compete for people, and young Americans must be persuaded that a short- or long-term military career is in their best interests.
The Navy Can't Be Their Last Resort
Recruiting is as tough as ever; it may get worse in the future. To attract today’s youth, the Navy must be ready to give sailors the educational opportunities and skills they want while they serve—instead of worrying that they’ll leave for the latest dot.com.
By Quartermaster First Class Christopher Briem, U.S. Naval Reserve