Apr 4, 2020 - Health

Military scrambles to recruit during coronavirus pandemic

U.S. Navy, Acting Secretary Thomas B. Modly tours the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy

Photo: Ryan M. Breeden/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as the novel coronavirus has shut down most enlistment stations and forced scouts to get online instead, AP reports.

Why it matters: If stay-at-home orders and mandated social distancing across the country persist, the armed forces may fail to meet annual recruitment goals. That could result in pressure for existing troops to reenlist to maintain military readiness, AP writes.

  • Maj. Gen. Lenny Richoux, director for personnel for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the AP that the military is observing this new trend, and believes it could take “a very long time” to rebuild.

The state of play: Military recruiters are now turning to social media to find new recruits. Some agencies have been using online platforms for the past few years, while others are learning to adapt on the fly.

  • Getting on YouTube and Instagram has forced recruiters to take a softer approach and focus more broadly on service to the country, AP writes.
  • The inability to recruit in-person has specifically impacted the Marine Corps, per AP, a branch that has seen success with a sales pitch that keeps Marines linked to their recruiters as they venture off to boot camp.

Yes, but: Summer is around the corner and is often peak recruiting season. The military could also become a popular option for some Americans facing unemployment linked to the pandemic.

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