HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – A new Navy report shows the U.S. Navy missed its active-duty enlisted sailors target by more than 7,000 people.
The commander of the Navy Recruiting Command described the landscape as a “challenging and competitive environment,” according to the Navy report published online.
In total, the U.S. Navy recruited 30,236 active-duty enlisted sailors, 7,464 short of its goal.
The service branch missed its officer goals by 452.
Aaron Karp, master lecturer at Old Dominion University, has concerns about Navy staffing shortages.
“The problem for the U.S. Navy isn’t getting the ships where they need to be in terms of capability, especially personnel,” he said. “It is sustaining the entire U.S. Navy over the long term. That’s another question.”
The U.S. Navy is not meeting the goals despite offering what the branch calls “record-high enlistment bonuses” that reached $75,000. The student loan repayment program reached up to $65,000.
The branch even changed the maximum enlistment age from 39 to 41-years-old.
In a statement, the Navy applauded its “talented” recruiters for their “tremendous efforts” and said the team “helped us close the gap on our forecasted miss by 40%.”
The Navy isn’t the only branch experiencing recruiting shortfalls. The Department of Defense said the Army and Air Force likely won’t meet their enlistment goals this year.
The Army is expected to be about 10,000 short of the service’s goal. The Air Force is around 10,000 active and reserve airmen short.
The Navy confirmed that many of the initiatives and programs supporting the recruiting mission will carry into next year.
The service branch hopes to recruit more than 40,600 active-duty enlisted sailors and 2,807 active-duty officers next year.