Is the Navy full?

The economy’s recovery is doing so well, thousands upon thousands of people have simply given up looking for work.

One effect this has had is that many people that previously would have given little or no thought to enlistment have turned to the services in hopes of finding a job, and skills to put to work in the civilian market later.

But the services are also going through severe budget challenges. That means they need to recruit fewer people. Further, there are a lot of people that kinda sorta feel like leaving the service, but take a look at the economy and decide a job they don’t really like is better than no job at all. That is, retention is unusually high, considering the operational tempo all the services have been sustaining.

So where just a few short years ago, the Army(and to a lesser extent, the other services as well)  would issue waivers for enlistment for nominal disqualifications, primarily medical and legal, but also for education, today those waivers are highly unlikely to be granted.

Over the last ten years, Navy Recruiting’s enlisted active duty mission has averaged roughly 37 thousand per year; that is a decrease of more than 13 thousand per year needed during the previous ten years. There are many reasons for the decrease in those numbers, but basically, it comes down to how many openings are expected to be available after the Navy’s retention rates are considered. The Navy’s projected enlisted active duty end-strength for FY 2014 is 265,878 (a number by the way that has been in general decline over the past 20+ years) – the Navy’s retention remains high, and I do not expect the recruiting goals for 2014 to exceed the average, as a matter of fact, I would not be surprised if 2014 sees the lowest recruiting mission the Navy has ever had; low 30K? I am speculating, of course, but based on the comments and emails I have received that describe what seems to be an ever increasing number of folks being sent home from MEPS with the distinction, “Qualified, No Jobs” – it sounds like a pretty large chunk of FY-14’s openings have already been filled. (hyperlinks in original-XBrad)

The plural of anecdote isn’t data, but we know our friend AggieSprite’s eldest has been trying for months to enlist, and the service is in no great rush to sign her up.

Now, you’d think this would make recruiter’s lives easier. Actually… no. What happens for the recruiter is that monthly missions remain roughly the same, but the quality requirements each potential enlistee must meet are raised.  It’s almost like the various accession commands insist the recruiter’s pain level must be maintained at a certain level.