(NewsNation) — The Army missed its recruitment goal in FY 2022 by 15,000 active-duty soldiers, and Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., told “The Hill on NewsNation” Monday that low pay and quality of life are to blame.
“The average American doesn’t realize that when you enlist in the military, you start off at $21,000 – $22,000 a year, which normalizes to about $11 per hour. You have fast food workers right now making double that, especially in states like California,” Garcia said. “The quality of life, once you get in is not great. It’s not what what our troops deserve. Congress has a responsibility, the DOD has a responsibility to compensate and give better quality of life and care benefits. Not only to the service member, but to the families living on base, especially.”
This year, the Army predicts a 10,000 soldier shortfall. Likewise, the Navy wants to bring aboard 50,000 active-duty and reserve recruits this year.
Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, added that we need to “take the politics out of our military.”
“I think many young people see it as a really radioactive polarized place where it used to be an honorable profession where you’d be immune to that,” Rieckhoff said during “The Hill on NewsNation.”
Recently, in an effort to get more unqualified Americans in, both the Army and Navy have launched prep courses for hopeful soldiers and sailors who don’t meet the physical or intellectual requirements it takes to become a member of the U.S. military.
NewsNation digital producer Stephanie Whiteside contributed to this report