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Navy to miss recruitment goals by 7,000 sailors

Makin Island ARG Returns to San Diego (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eloise A. Johnson/US Navy)
September 15, 2023

The United States Navy will likely be 7,000 sailors short of its recruiting goals this year, acting Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti revealed.

“We started out the year thinking we’d be about 13,000 short. We’re going to be about 7,000 short. We’re doing better month by month than we were last year,” Franchetti told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, according to Military Times.

Franchetti noted that the Navy is taking action to enlist more recruits, including launching a new pilot program that allows sailors who scored lower on the Armed Forces Qualification Test to still join the Navy.

All U.S. military branches struggled with recruiting in the 2022 fiscal year. The Navy’s new guidelines allow it to enlist up to 7,540 sailors – 20 percent of its 2023 recruiting goal – from so-called “Category IV” recruits, Stars and Stripes previously reported.

Category IV recruits are those who hold high school diplomas and scored between the tenth and thirtieth percentile on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT).

READ MORE: U.S. Air Force expected to miss recruiting goals; first time in 20+ years

That Category IV score range is the lowest from which the Pentagon allows military branches to enlist new recruits, according to Stars and Stripes.

“I would like to make the point that the Navy has not lowered any of our standards,” Franchetti insisted. “We are using every available lever to us that’s authorized to be able to expand the pool of people that we’re bringing in.”

Last year, the Navy barely passed its active-component enlisted recruiting goal of 33,400 new enlisted sailors, bringing in 33,442 sailors in total. While it barely met its active enlisted recruiting goal, the Navy missed its 2,507 active-duty officer goal by 209.

The service’s reserve component also saw shortfalls. By the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2022, the Navy Reserve recruited 5,442 new recruits of its 7,400-recruit goal. The Navy Reserve also brought in 982 new officers out of its goal of 1,360.