VCNO: Navy Set to Miss FY 2023 Recruiting Goals for Enlisted Sailors by Nearly 16%

April 20, 2023 6:17 PM - Updated: April 20, 2023 6:46 PM
Recruits wait to perform during a pass-in-review graduation ceremony at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., on April 14, 2023. US Navy Photo

The Navy will likely miss its recruiting goals by 6,000 sailors for the current fiscal year, the vice chief of naval operations testified Wednesday.

The sea service is aiming to recruit 37,700 active-duty enlisted sailors for Fiscal Year 2023, a goal that VCNO Adm. Lisa Franchetti told the House Armed Services Committee the sea service will fall short of by 15.9 percent.

However, in Franchetti’s written testimony, the VCNO wrote that the Navy will likely miss its active-duty enlisted recruiting goal by 8,000 sailors. The sea service is also expected to fall short of meeting its reserve recruiting numbers by 3,300. Franchetti did not say in her oral or written testimony how the Navy would fare for active duty or reserve officers.

The difference between the recruiting numbers provided in Franchetti’s verbal and written testimony is due to the service’s recruitment increase from when she submitted her written statement and testified, Recruiting Command spokesperson Cmdr. Dave Benham told USNI News in a Thursday statement.

Recruiting numbers change as the year progresses and incentives are offered, Benham previously told USNI News. The recruiting command does not typically release recruiting numbers throughout the year because of the fluctuations.

“Ultimately we won’t know final numbers until the end of September, but the forecast is significantly better than it was several months back,” Benham said in a Thursday email. “This is reflective of various changes we have implemented during the year, to include CAT IV accessions for future Sailors with qualifying line scores, raising maximum enlistment age to 41, various waivers such as single parent, tattoos, and prior THC use, the just announced Future Sailor Prep Course, and other program changes coming soon.”

CAT IV refers to the Navy’s policy of accepting people who scored lower on their entrance test as long as they score well on the entrance vocational exam, USNI News previously reported.

“All of this is designed to reduce barriers to enlistment, and coupled with the extraordinary work of our recruiters in the field, is helping us reduce the projected shortfall, with an ultimate goal of reducing it as much as possible,” Benham continued.

The change in the potential shortfall is a prediction, according to Benham. The Recruiting Command bases predictions on updated recruitment numbers and estimates on how policy changes will affect the numbers, among other factors. The latest of these policies is the Future Sailor Preparatory Course, which will help those who have not met the physical requirements. An academic version is expected later this year.

The Navy is not alone in predicting that it will not meet recruiting numbers. The vice chiefs of the other branches joined Franchetti on the panel before the House Armed Services Committee. The Army and the Air Force are also expected to come up short on recruiting.

The Marine Corps will meet its recruiting goals, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith testified. The service also met its recruiting goals in FY 2022.

Last year, the Navy met its recruiting goals for active-duty enlisted sailors by 42 sailors. It raised recruiting goals to 37,700 for FY 2023, an increase of 3,400 over the previous year. The service did not meet FY 2022 recruiting goals for active-duty officers or the reserve.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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