More soldiers are leaving the Army National Guard at a faster rate than they are enlisting

WASHINGTON (AP) - Soldiers are leaving the Army National Guard at a faster rate than they are enlisting, fueling concerns that in the coming years units around the country may not meet military requirements for overseas and other deployments.

For individual states, which rely on their Guard members for a wide range of missions, it means some are falling short of their troop totals this year, while others may fare better. But the losses comes as many are facing an active hurricane season, fires in the West and continued demand for units overseas, including combat tours in Syria and training missions in Europe for nations worried about threats from Russia.

According to officials, the number of soldiers retiring or leaving the Guard each month in the past year has exceeded those coming in, for a total annual loss of about 7,500 service members. The problem is a combination of recruiting shortfalls and an increase in the number of soldiers who are opting not to reenlist when their tour is up.

The losses reflect a broader personnel predicament across the U.S. military, as all the armed services struggled this year to meet recruiting goals. And they underscore the need for sweeping reforms in how the military recruits and retains citizen soldiers and airmen who must juggle their regular full-time jobs with their military duties.

Maj. Gen. Rich Baldwin, chief of staff of the Army National Guard, said the current staffing challenges are the worst he’s seen in the last 20 years, but so far the impact on Guard readiness is “minimal and manageable.”

“However, if we don’t solve the recruiting and retention challenges we’re currently facing, we will see readiness issues related to strength begin to emerge within our units within the next year or two,” he said.

According to Gen. Daniel Hokanson, head of the National Guard Bureau, both the Army and Air Guards failed to meet their goals for the total number of service members in the fiscal year that ended last Friday. The Army Guard’s authorized total is 336,000, and the Air Guard is 108,300.

Baldwin said the Army Guard started the year with a bit more than its target total, but ends the fiscal year about 2% below the goal. Fueling that decline was a 10% shortfall in the number of current soldiers who opted to reenlist. Hokanson said the Air Guard missed its total goal by nearly 3%.

The reasons are many. But Guard officials suggest that young people may not be hearing the strong call to service that they did when the U.S. was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Baldwin said that as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan began to decline several years ago, states started to see higher than expected losses in personnel. In exit interviews, he said, troops cited a number of reasons why they weren’t reenlisting. “But, unexpectedly, they found that one reason common to many of their soldiers was based on the perception that the war was over,” said Baldwin, adding that they had joined to serve their country, not make the Army Guard their career.

The same may be true now, he said. In 2020 and 2021, Guard members were heavily involved in a range of domestic emergencies, from natural disasters and civil unrest to the pandemic, including medical care, COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

“Today, we have a much lower overseas deployment tempo than we’ve been used to and almost all of the COVID support missions have been ramped down,” Baldwin said. “We join to make a difference by serving others and by being part of something bigger than ourselves. … There may be a perception among both our soldiers and the civilians we are trying to recruit that we are on the backside of all of that and it’s time to take advantage of the hot job market we have right now.”

While the shortfalls for 2022 may be small percentages, the Guard is facing increasing losses over the next year due to the U.S. military’s requirement that all troops get the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently about 9,000 Guard members are refusing to get the shot, and another 5,000 have sought religious, medical or administrative exemptions.

So far, no Guard members have been discharged for refusing the vaccine order. The National Guard is awaiting final instructions from the Army on how to proceed. Officials have said it’s not clear when they will get that guidance.

With more losses likely on the horizon, Guard leaders are looking for ways to entice service members to join or reenlist. Hokanson said a critical change would be to provide Guard members with healthcare coverage. Currently, he said, about 60,000 Guardsmen don’t have health insurance. And those who have insurance through their civilian employer have to go through a difficult process to move to the military’s TRICARE program when they are on active-duty status.

The cost of providing health care coverage to those who don’t have it would be about $719 million a year, he said.

Other changes that could help, he said, would include expanding educational benefits and giving Guard members a financial bonus when they bring in new recruits. Such bonuses were used during the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but there were some problems that Hokanson and others said could be avoided now.

“We need to make adjustments based on the current environment because for the long term, our nation needs a National Guard the size that we are, or maybe even larger to meet all the requirements that we have,” said Hokanson. “It’s up to us to make sure that we fill our formations so that they’re ready when our nation needs us.”

1 Like

Why would anyone want to join the Army at this point? They have gone full woke and they are proud of it. Who wants to go make less money just to sit in mandatory training about diversity, equity, and inclusion?


In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the Army has gone soft. Standards have slipped, and once-rigorous training exercises have been replaced by feel-good activities that do little to prepare soldiers for the rigors of combat. This decline can be traced back to a change in attitude among senior Army leaders going back to the Clinton-era. In the past, the Army was focused on winning wars and making sure that its soldiers were ready to fight and die if necessary. Today, however, the Army seems more interested in promoting its own image, pushing mandatory diversity in promotions, and avoiding bad publicity. As a result, it has become increasingly politicized and bureaucratic, losing sight of its true purpose. This decline is extremely troubling, and it is time for the Army to get back to basics.


They will offer illegals amnesty, and all the benefits if they join, and republicans will cave in. Our military will look like an Ethiopia police in a few years.

Being an ex- ranger, (101st Fort Benning and Fort Cambell) I no longer am able to say I recognize the outfit anymore. They are leaving because of the woke bullshit and CRT tranny indoctrination they are trying to institute. Its all by design to neuter our fighting capabilities brought to you by John Podesta’s blue print that was originally part of Obama’s second term agenda to which he was never able to get completed and now they are. Its fking bullshit! And this is across the board affecting all branches of the military.

1 Like

It’s like all the clowns chimed in without reading any of the article.

It’s like individuals who aren’t veterans, and have no clue what military service is like, are making comments that add no value to the thread or to the story posted.


Look in the mirror, and meet your accuser.

STFU! You didn’t serve did you?

It was all by design! I don’t know if you remember the book by Aaron Klein “Fool Me Twice”?

Yes its shocking because its actually true and coming to fruition. This book was published in 2012 and was warning everyone about Obama’s second term agenda. In this book is detailed plans of what Obama had for our military. Exactly what is happening to it now!

1 Like

:joy: :sheep: I see that hysterical book from 2012 triggered you. Thought and prayers. Wait, not really.

Yeah like you actually read it. Fking moron!

You rather support

(You) The “resisters” now love and worship …

  • Big World Government
  • The global war machine
  • Big Pharma
  • Big Global Banks
  • Big oil as long as it comes from dictators
  • The Feds
  • The CDC, WHO, and the FDA

Exactly what are you resisting?

Now go fk off with your nonsense hypocrite!


We cringe when the slut chime in too . :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: