U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper, a 2018 Wash100 recipient, has said the service is focusing on readiness more as it prioritizes the skills of U.S. warfighters instead of meeting the intended number of recruits.
The Defense Department said Friday the Army lowered its goal of recruits from 80,000 to 76,500 because the service planned to refine its retention rate, which is now at 86 percent.
Esper noted, however, that having a higher active duty retention rate compared to service expectations may possibly hinder with the recruitment into the U.S. National Guard and the Army Reserve.
The Army sees more demand for more troops in engineering, artillery, cyber and air defense for deployments to other countries such as in Afghanistan and Africa.
The service, along with the U.S. Marine Corps and Special Operations Command, is also working with the Close-Combat Lethality Task Force to determine the requirements for modern close combat.
“As we move forward, we need to synchronize our efforts with what the Marine Corps is doing, so we use all the capabilities our soldiers need,” Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey said.
Esper added the Army’s cross-functional teams are working on enhancing the survivability and lethality of individual warfighters and the squad.