Army Considering These DRASTIC Cuts As Recruitment Hits Rock Bottom

By Jennifer Wentworth | Wednesday, 10 April 2024 10:30 AM
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The U.S. Army is reportedly reassessing two key educational benefits, used by over 100,000 soldiers annually, as it grapples with retention issues and resource allocation, according to a statement made to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday.

The Credentialing Assistance (CA) program and the Tuition Assistance (TA) program, both critical for soldier recruitment and retention, are under review. The CA program provides soldiers with up to $4,000 annually to gain civilian qualifications, while the TA program aids troops in advancing their formal education. However, it remains unclear what prompted the reconsideration of these programs or whether Congressional mandates have compelled the Army to redirect funds typically allocated for continuing education to other priorities, as reported by Military.com.

Army spokesperson Bryce Dubee acknowledged the importance of these programs in a statement to the DCNF, stating, "The Army recognizes the value of both to support our soldiers’ professional development and readiness levels. However, in order to ensure their long-term sustainability, the Army is conducting a thorough review of both programs."

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The Army has long relied on education benefits as a key aspect of its recruitment and retention strategy. Soldiers who qualify for the TA program, having served at least one year of active duty, can receive up to $250 per semester hour, with a maximum annual assistance of $4,500 for undergraduate and graduate courses. In exchange, they commit to an additional two years of service after completing their education, concurrent with their existing service obligation.

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According to Military.com, the Army spent approximately $278 million on education benefits in the 2023 fiscal year. The Army declined Military.com’s interview requests with service officials, including Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Weimer, who typically oversees matters related to enlisted troops, the primary users of the TA program.

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Since its introduction in 1999 and expansion after the 9/11 terror attacks, the TA program has been used by about 101,000 soldiers across all Army components each year since 2020, costing roughly $218 million annually. The CA program, launched in 2020, is a smaller initiative designed to help soldiers diversify their skills to meet the changing needs of the force.

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Approximately 64,500 soldiers have utilized the CA program since its inception, earning qualifications in project management, personal training, and piloting, among others. The program's cost has risen from $8 million in 2020 to $60.2 million in 2023, according to Dubee.

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Sources with direct knowledge of the plans told Military.com that the Army is considering capping the CA benefit at $1,000 per year, with a total limit of $4,000 throughout a soldier's career, a significant reduction from the previous annual allowance of $4,000.

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The Army's recruitment efforts have been challenged, missing active duty recruitment targets for the second consecutive year in 2023, achieving only 55,000 of its 65,000 troop goal. The service is also eliminating thousands of vacant positions as the ongoing recruitment crisis has left it without sufficient personnel to fill these roles.

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