(NewsNation) – The Iowa Air National Guard is offering $20,000 signing bonuses to new recruits as other branches of the military struggle to meet recruiting goals.
While military officials say the lack of recruits has many reasons, incentives, bonuses or free tuition are no longer unique to the military.
“Our young people today just aren’t as interested in serving in the military as they were in the past,” said Air National Guard Director of Staff Col. Trenton Twedt. from Iowa.
National Guard officials said several factors are causing recruiting challenges, including a shortage of trained recruits, physical fitness qualifications for those who want to serve, and the pandemic — which has limited in-person recruiting at schools.
“It only gets worse until you just have a smaller and smaller pool to try and aim to join the military,” Twedt said.
Retired US Army Major General William Enyart said the Army National Guard was short of 8,000 recruits in September 2021.
“It’s the same reason you see signs of help-seeking all over the country,” Enyart said. “We recruit the best and the brightest; we hire the same people any employer wants to hire.
This is a problem that affects most military personnel.
The military has told Congress that by October 2022 it will miss its recruiting goal by nearly 30,000 people.
“A recruiting challenge today actually has long-lasting effects over the next 20 to 30 years,” said military readiness expert Kate Kuzminski.
Enyart thinks lowering standards for rookies would be a last resort.