The Soldier Referral Program a failure for Army Recruiting after initial launch

The US Army Recruiting Command launched the Soldier Referral Program (SRB) in January of this year in response to the worst year of recruiting in the all volunteer force’s history. The intent of the program was to reward currently serving soldiers with promotions and an Army Recruiting Ribbon for referring people they knew for potential service in the Army. While referrals themselves have been particularly high, the amount of contracts written as a result of those referrals barely landed in the two digit category.

SRB statistics slide from US Army Recruiting Command

According to a US Army Recruiting Command slide that leaked on USAWTF’s social media, 2,834 referrals were made as of February 28. However, only 35 of those referrals were turned into actual contracts which culminated in someone enlisting into service. That comes out to about .012% of the total referrals.

The Army put a lot of effort into this new recruiting campaign. As you can see, it’s been widely successful as far as the effort made by currently serving soldiers to refer their friends and family. They showed up and did their part. The incentives for promotion and a new ribbon clearly enticed a large number of people.

SRP outline and purpose

However, the amount of people who signed up after only a little over a month into the program is negligible, and I can’t see that number improving in the short term. The lack of contracts isn’t due to people not knowing the Army exists or a friend telling them how awesome the Army is. They just don’t want to join. There are plenty of voices who have thrown their two cents in as to why recruiting is failing, so I’ll refrain from doing so myself at this moment. All I know is the SRB met the intent to gain referrals, but it failed in following through on the actual contract.

The Army failed to meet it’s quota by 15,000 personnel in FY ’22, or 25%. With 35 added contracts per month, which very well may have signed up regardless of being referred, that number would only be whittled down by 420, or .028%. With senior generals now issuing memos to the force predicting war with China by 2025, you can bet the discussion of enacting a draft has been discussed at the highest levels of the Pentagon. With America ferociously stoking the fires of war in Ukraine, and predicted war with China on the horizon, discussions of a draft become a matter of when, not if.

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