published : 2023-08-22

Calculators Could Be the Solution for Military Recruitment Crisis

Military Branches May Fall Short of 2023 Recruiting Goals

A high-contrast black and white image of a young person previewing the ASVAB test, showing their tense expressions. The calculator is the focal point in their hands. Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The U.S. military is confronting one of its most pressing challenges - the recruitment crisis. With the Army, Navy, and Air Force predicted to fall short of their 2023 recruiting goals, significant measures are being considered to chalk a path out of this deepening crisis.

To this end, the Pentagon has been mulling over a potential solution: allowing the use of calculators during the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), an entrance exam that qualifies applicants for enlistment and job eligibility. The performance on the ASVAB has sadly been an impasse for many otherwise potential recruits, consequently amplifying the military's recruitment woes.

The news of this potential policy change comes at a time when concerns about future recruitment figures are acute. Besides the Army, Navy, and Air Force, others like the Marine Corps and the Space Force might also have to brace themselves for recruitment shortfalls.

A candid photo of Army Secretary Christine Wormuth while in conversation with fellow military officers from a slight distance. Her focused look and military insignia are prominently featured. The atmosphere reflects a momentous discussion on military matters. Picture taken with Nikon D850.

A defense official stated that the systematic introduction of calculators in the ASVAB is being carefully thought out. The impact assessment and the development of a way forward for calculator inclusion is based on best practices in test development and psychometric theory.

Underlying the recruitment crisis are multifaceted challenges: an ever-shrinking pool of young Americans who qualify for the military enlistment criteria, and the persistent struggles in the post-COVID-19 era. However, another thread has woven itself into this crisis narrative - the widely accused 'woke' politics within the military - as recently pushed back by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.

Defending against these allegations, Wormuth insisted that theirs is a 'ready Army, not a woke Army.' She lamented the blamed politicization of military leaders is being viewed as a contributing factor to the decline in public trust in the military, potentially exacerbating the challenging recruiting situation.

A group shot of new recruits at the completion of their 'Future Soldier Preparatory Course.' They are posed in a formation, depicting unity and readiness. Their faces are hidden from the camera, focusing on the shared identity and purpose they represent. Snapped with a Sony Alpha 1.

Regardless of the causes, the military has been actively seeking innovative ways to supplement recruitment. Amidst these efforts, the Army initiated the 'Future Soldier Preparatory Course.' This unique program allows potential recruits, initially failing to meet aptitude or body fat standards, 90 extra days to comply with the Army criteria. After successful completion, they move forward to the core military training.

Since its inception, the course has graduated 9,216 students, with 7,045 completing the academic version and 2,171 successfully passing the fitness course. These figures reflect optimism amid challenges, offering the military a beacon of hope as they navigate their way through this complicated recruitment landscape.