Legislation aimed at increasing students’ awareness of opportunities provided by military service, bolstering long-term military readiness
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), joined by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), today introduced theMilitary Service Promotion Act of 2023, legislation aimed at addressing the current military recruitment crisis by enhancing military recruiter access to high schools and colleges. While current law requires high schools to provide access to military recruiters, this bill requires schools to respond to requests from recruiters within 60 days; requires recruiter access to high school career fairs and similar events; gives the military access to college student drop-out information; and requires the Department of Defense to look at expanding the U.S. Army’s Future Soldier Preparatory Course, which helps prepare those interested in joining the Army for the required physical fitness and aptitude testing.
“Our military is facing the largest recruitment crisis in 50 years, which has real impacts on our national security,” said Senator Romney. “Yet amidst this crisis, military recruiters often face hurdles, and in some cases even hostility, from schools when trying to engage with students to educate them about their options for military service. Military recruiters must be afforded at least the same access to high school students as colleges and universities are given. Students should be exposed to the opportunities and benefits that military service can provide, and the Department of Defense should be looking at ways to help those who want to serve our country successfully meet the requirements to do so.”
“Maine Veterans consistently share how service in the Armed Forces provides economic mobility and transferable, tangible skills that last a lifetime,” said Senator King. “As reports show that many young Americans are not aware of these life-changing possibilities, the bipartisan Military Service Promotion Act would provide students information about the opportunities and benefits of military service. The more students we teach about these options, the better we can address the concerning issue of geographic diversity among our troops and our recruiting crisis. I appreciate Senator Romney’s leadership on this effort and look forward to our continued partnership on America’s most pressing national security challenges.”
“Our military’s unprecedented recruiting crisis is hurting our ability to keep America safe,” said Senator Cotton. “This legislation will give military recruiters the tools to communicate better with schools and the millions of young Americans eligible for military recruitment.”
Full text of the legislation can be found here.
The U.S. Army is facing some of its greatest recruiting challenges since it became an all-volunteer force. According to recent testimony, in FY 2022, the Army fell short of its recruiting goal by more than 25 percent—bringing on less than 45,000 new soldiers instead of its 60,000 target.
Only 23 percent of Americans 17 to 24 years of age are physically, academically, and otherwise qualified to serve in the military. Nearly 80 percent of Army recruits come from military households—which is partially explained by 50 percent of youth reporting that they know “little to nothing” about military service. Only 1% of the U.S. population currently serves.