Amid Recruiting Shortages U.S. Army and Air Force Call on Retirees to Return to Active Duty

The U.S. Army and Air Force are reaching out to retirees, asking them to come back and serve on active duty once again.

The Army has been facing significant hurdles in recruitment over the past few years. Factors contributing to this include COVID-19 vaccine mandates and a military environment that some perceive as overly focused on political correctness.

Critics argue that while transgender soldiers receive special treatment, Christian soldiers face discrimination. Additionally, the hosting of drag shows on military bases and the hiring of leaders with controversial statements in their past have raised concerns among potential recruits.

According to Army Times, “The Army fell about 15,000 soldiers — or 25% — short of its recruitment goal this [2022], officials confirmed Friday, despite a frantic effort to make up the widely expected gap in a year when all the military services struggled in a tight jobs market to find young people willing and fit to enlist.”

This fiscal year is expected to present even more challenges for the Army. Due to recruitment difficulties, the Army has reduced its target active-duty end strength from 476,000 to 466,000 soldiers.

However, recent projections from Army officials, as reported by War “Army officials project that active end strength could shrink by as much as 20,000 soldiers by September, down to 445,000.”

“That means that the nation’s primary land force could plummet by as much as 7 percent in only two years — at a time when its missions are increasing in Europe and even in the Pacific, where the Army provides many of the critical wartime theater enablers without which the other services cannot function.”

“That means that the nation’s primary land force could plummet by as much as 7 percent in only two years — at a time when its missions are increasing in Europe and even in the Pacific, where the Army provides many of the critical wartime theater enablers without which the other services cannot function.”

A notable decrease in enlistment from white males, a demographic that traditionally made up a considerable part of the Army’s recruits, is also contributing to the recruitment challenge.

Over the past five years, the number of white recruits has drastically decreased, with the most significant annual drop of 6% occurring between 2022 and 2023. In contrast, the numbers of Black and Hispanic recruits have remained relatively stable but have increased as a percentage of total recruits due to the decline in white recruits.

In an attempt to strengthen its ranks, the Air Force announced the reinstatement of its Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty (VRRAD) Program in February.

This initiative aims to fill up to 1,000 mid-career positions, focusing on the urgent need for pilots, combat systems officers, recruiters, and air traffic controllers.

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As reported by Air Force Times:

The application window for the Voluntary Retired Return to Service Program opens Thursday, the Air Force said in a release. Applications must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2026, to serve on active duty for no more than 48 months. Those selected can expect to return to uniform between four and six months after they apply.

“The VRRAD program is a strategic enabler to embrace experienced talent, tapping into a valuable resource of retired members to fill critical roles to close the gap against our peer competitors,” Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, the service’s uniformed personnel chief, said in a release.

The program is limited to commissioned officers who held the rank of captain through lieutenant colonel, as well as former enlisted staff sergeants through senior master sergeants. Retirees who served in the medical, legal and chaplain corps — known as “non-line” officers — are ineligible to return.

While anyone who is eligible may apply, regardless of the job they held while in uniform,the Air Force is focusing on bringing back a range of commissioned roles, from pilots and combat systems officers to cyber specialists, contracting officers and more. The service also wants to staff up its enlisted corps in fields like recruiting, air traffic control, security forces, health care and others.

Taking a cue from the Air Force, the Army has now opened its doors to retired soldiers through a service-wide directive. An All Army Activities (ALARACT) document provides guidance on how retirees can find and apply for open positions, with the aim of ensuring the Army remains fully staffed.

“A review of commands’ requests for [the] fill of authorized personnel vacancies, in conjunction with current Army manning guidance, prompted review of how the Army can fill key and critical position vacancies,” the document explains.

“The retiree recall program can be an effective tool to fill personnel shortages of authorized regular Army vacancies that are considered key and essential.”

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By Hunter Fielding
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1 month ago

NO AMERICAN wants to be a Woke Warrior!
Especially those who served in the past. They know what American military PRIDE is like!
Leftist infiltrators have destroyed our once invincible fighting force. Intentionally, it seems.

1 month ago

This, I saw coming. Who in their right mind would sacrifice their life for this cesspool? I’m thinking perhaps they’re waiting for the inevitable revolution then all hell will break loose. Let the politicians’ offspring do the dirty work just like their parents have been doing – or round up those illegals and ship THEM out.

Sandra Smith
Sandra Smith
1 month ago

Dear God, the memories and awareness are SHORT! This is not a “new” or “recent” development! Retention and recruitment issues began decades ago, with the “no child left behind” policy dropping education levels too low, and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy creating unhealthy, unsafe, and uncomfortable environments for the troops. The active duty and veteran populations tried to warn y’all back then those were bad ideas, but did y’all listen? Nope, y’all just kept on pushing the sickness. Now y’all have added this “divisiveness, exclusion, and intolerance” (DEI) garbage to boot, and y’all can’t figure out the shortfall??? Only people who want to sign up now, want what should NEVER have been offered and can’t even be deployed anyway! Yep, “brilliant” strategy that was…NOT!

1 month ago

Make your man-she or she-men or the rest of the welfare half wits join, that’s who you cater to the most…or….or …orrrr. the Chinese military-aged men you let sneak into the country.

Call them “sir Brandens military regiment”…

Bidenomics! it’s working.

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