Army Recruiting Command is undermanned and tasked with filling a large gap of recruits after missing last year’s goal. Though the service is trying to fill those recruiter slots and coming up with new marketing to get young Americans in the door, there have been a handful of drastic measures floated this year, and the most recent one came from Army Recruiting Mid-Atlantic.
That battalion commander ordered that only soldiers and station commanders who’d met a certain quota would get to work a holiday schedule, according to a memo posted Thursday by U.S. Army WTF Moments.
“The recruiting brigade commander has rescinded this battalion directive, as it is not in line with U.S. Army Recruiting Command headquarters or brigade policy or guidance,” USAREC spokeswoman Kelli Bland told Army Times on Friday.
Lt. Col. Keith Bryant had targeted recruiting station commanders who hadn’t made their first quarter goals, as well as individual recruiters with fewer than three enlistments since October. Rather than taking half days or working every other day from Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, the official holiday period, they would have to work normal hours.
And during those hours, if they were not already cleared for holiday leave, they would be doing mandatory training with the battalion command sergeant major.
“Battalion commanders had the ability to determine if half days or day-on/day-off schedules would work best in their formations for non-holiday days,” Bland said. “Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 are both training holidays for USAREC, so there are two four-day weekends during the holiday break.”
It’s not the first time the Army’s recruiting commanders have taken unusual measures to enforce productivity. In a memo made public in May, a Texas recruiting brigade commander put together a memo ordering longer hours and more Saturday shifts for his recruiters, but the commander never signed the memo and pushed it out.
And in April, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey proposed involuntarily sending some NCOs with recruiting experience on temporary duty to help with the summer busy season.
The Army fell 6,500 recruits short of its goal for 2018, and this year is trying to bring in another 66,000. Meanwhile, retention is historically high.
“We’re on glide path to make our 2019 retention goal by June,” Dailey told Army Times on Tuesday.
It’s likely that senior leaders will consider adjusting the recruiting goal to balance the authorized end strength number with the surge of soldiers signing on for another enlistment, he added.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.