The Navy has stood up Navy Recruiting Reserve Command, a move that comes as the armed services struggle with recruiting numbers this fiscal year.
The objective is to provide the service with a unit specifically targeting sailors and others who’ve previously served. The command is primarily composed of canvassing recruiter professionals to educate others — including active duty sailors, veterans and civilians— about the Navy Reserve, according to the service.
“The challenge that has affected us all is the competition for our military and civilian talent, and that of our reserve market,” said Capt. Karen Muntean, commander of Navy Recruiting Reserve Command, in a news release. “This competitive employment market has forced us to think about short- and long-term organizational structures that make sense.”
This move is part of Commander Navy Recruiting Command’s realignment of its command structure, which went from a three geographic region model — east, central and west) to a two region model (east and west) for active duty recruiting, Reserve New Accession Training and Training and Administration of the Reserves, according to the Navy. That frees the new NRRC to focus on the prior-service Reserve mission in a competitive job market.
The command is slated to hold an inaugural production conference in Millington, Tennessee, in September.
“The objective for the initial NRRC leadership conference is to connect our leaders, accept mission assignments, identify strategic partnerships and move forward together,” Muntean said.
Leaders like Gen. Joseph Martin, the Army’s vice chief of staff, have recently cited manning struggles stemming from recruiting. The Army anticipates it will miss its end strength goal for fiscal 2022 by approximately 7,000 troops, Martin said in July.
Commanders from each of the services have said such factors as more thorough medical screenings, fewer Americans eligible to serve, and low civilian unemployment have contributed to the recruitment challenges.
Other services, including the Navy, are faring better than the Army, though. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told reporters July 26 that while recruiting is still proving a challenge, the Navy is currently on track to meet its goals.
The sea service is striving to cater to young people and is reevaluating certain policies that previously barred many of them from serving, Gilday said. He cited recent changes like last year’s policy update that allowed those who’d previously tested positive for marijuana to join the service.
“This isn’t the first time that we’ve faced these challenges,” Gilday said. “We just can’t rest on our laurels. We have to be more innovative. We have to be more creative. Our outreach has to improve.”
Last year, the Navy surpassed its goals, recruiting a total of 33,559 new enlisted sailors to the fleet in FY2021, 159 more than its target of 33,400 new recruits.