- The Army scrambled to fix an unexpected shortfall in its recruiter force, ordering some soldiers to relocate and report to recruiter school by Nov. 6, service officials confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- In addition, the Army is lowering requirements and offering no-questions-asked promotions for those required to ship last minute.
- “I’d like to first of all apologize to the soldiers and the families that received this last-minute notification. That mistake is mine,” Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt told the DCNF.
The Army notified some non-commissioned officers (NCOs) they’d been assigned to become recruiters less than two weeks before they would have to ship out to Fort Knox for training, the service’s personnel head confirmed on Wednesday.
An unforeseen shortage of volunteers to fill 800 slots at the U.S. Army Recruiting & Retention College by the end of the calendar year triggered the Army’s Recruiting Command (USAREC) to send out last-minute orders, Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday. Some NCOs were notified possibly as early as Friday, and to make sure slots for the next class of future recruiters are filled, USAREC lowered entrance standards and rolled out last-minute incentives, officials said.
“We discovered recently just looking at the class of non-commissioned officers coming out, rotating out of Recruiting Command and what was projected to go in the losses exceeded the gains. In order to maintain momentum that we’re seeing within the recruiting force that we’re starting to set the conditions for transformation we made a last-we made the decision this week to bump up the numbers,” Stitt said.
“I’d like to first of all apologize to the soldiers and the families that received this last-minute notification. That mistake is mine,” he said.
USAREC is not going to rush to fill a number or fill training slots, Stitt said. The command will work with soldiers, as well as their chain of command and U.S. Army Human Resources Command, to accommodate any personal or professional reasons a soldier might not be able to relocate last-minute.
He did not say what specific errors generated the discrepancy or when it was discovered, but did acknowledge that the Army realized late a number of no-shows of NCOs to a previous recruiter course.
“Where we saw some changes in our forecasting due to some errors I take responsibility for those. Those errors have been fixed,” Stitt said.
USAREC’s goal is 400 students for the class starting Nov. 6 and another 400 for the class in December, made up of both volunteers and involuntarily selected individuals, Stitt said. So far, he had heard of three volunteers.
USAREC also dropped standards to “open the aperture” for available NCOs to fill seats in the recruiter course, Stitt confirmed. Screenshots of an email circulating on social media platforms suggested the Army would allow NCOs who fail fitness tests, exceed age requirements or otherwise fail to meet eligibility standards to attend recruiter school.
Stitt said any officer completing the recruiter course would have to meet those standards before completing the course and getting an assignment.
In addition, some NCOs assigned to attend a drill sergeant course would be shifted to recruiter school, although USAREC has not yet determined how many soldiers the change affects, Stitt said.
Stitt said USAREC was actively communicating down the chain of command on the issue. To sweeten the pot, USAREC added last-minute incentives, officials said.
Soldiers who received short notice to report by November or December will get a no-questions-asked promotion to Staff Sergeant upon graduation, regardless of their time in service or other qualifications, Sgt. Maj. Chistopher Stevens, the top enlisted soldier for personnel, explained to the DCNF on Wednesday. They’ll still be required to complete advanced leader courses at some point. If they are a Staff Sergeant and get 24 contracts within their first year as a recruiter, they’ll get a guaranteed promotion to Sergeant First Class.
Separately, NCOs who volunteer to attend recruiter school by the end of February will get a one-time $5,000 benefit upon graduation, Stevens said. Currently-serving recruiters will get a bonus of $1,500 monthly for the first year if they agree to extend their contracts.
Love the knee jerk reaction of the Army to bulk identify folks for recruiting duty with less than 10 days notice. They aren't even required to pass screening.
HRC/DAG1 blame policy makers and say they just relay ASL decisions while Soldiers and their families get screwed. pic.twitter.com/3zfPm4zoEi
— U.S Army WTF! Moments (@TheWTFNation) October 31, 2023
“That’s interesting … that info isn’t making its way down to the company level,” an NCO said to the DCNF, speaking on condition of anonymity as the officer was not authorized to speak to the media, after learning of the promised incentives.
Stitt said he approved the $5,000 bonus on Tuesday and the meritorious promotions on Wednesday, after the initial notifications went out as early as Friday.
Most of the recruiters who complete the school will join the recruiting force roughly in the summer of 2024, Stitt explained.
At the beginning of October, the Army announced plans for major overhauls to its recruiting force after missing its recruiting goal for fiscal year 2023, which ended Sept. 30, by about 10,000 recruits.
But the reforms, which include developing a specialized, longer-term recruiting workforce through establishing career fields for enlisted personnel and warrant officers in recruiting, will require years to materialize, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said. Currently, the Army relies heavily on soldiers in other fields to complete temporary recruiting assignments.
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