Army expanding two-year enlistment options to boost recruiting

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 7:59 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - For the first time, the U.S. Army has announced that the service is expanding its short-term career opportunities, offering a shorter enlistment process with more benefits.

In the past, the shortest enlistment process for anyone joining the Army was six years. Now, the Army announced that two-year active-duty enlistments are now available with more jobs, meaning a four-year commitment with the last two years being with the reserves.

Army Veteran Jeffrey Yarvis says he thinks the move is just right considering the need for more recruits and the current job market.

“The shortened enlistment really gives people a chance to experiment a little bit with military life and also not have a problem with people who experimented and didn’t like it,” he said.

“Now, there’s an exit strategy for them and we get to keep the people who really want to be there and take advantage of the opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Army Veteran Jeremy Fay says with the potential for war with Russia in dealing with the Ukraine crisis and other potential world conflicts could be a negative factor in recruiting and thinks the move may be more harmful in the long run.

“The concern that I have is so much of this time is dedicated to training soldiers,” he said.

“There’s a lot of money, energy and resources that go into this. Just bringing a soldier up to a unit and be able to be combat ready and deployable, should that situation call itself. How much time are we really getting out of these qualified soldiers after training is completed? That’s the real question.”

The move will also provide enlistees with 80% of the post 9/11 GI Bill and the VA Home Loan to help buy a house, something that Texas A&M Central Texas Business Administration Professor Lucas Loafman says can be a strong selling point.

“That used to be a big selling point for the Army in education benefits,” he said.

“Now, we’re seeing corporate America in Walmart, Target, providing those same benefits. We’re seeing hourly wages go up substantially, we’re seeing signs of food service that’s normally minimum wage now being slightly above. So, it’s just a necessity to provide a better benefits package.”

Loafman says any global conflict could also inspire young men and women to be patriotic and serve their country. Regardless of what recruits, veterans and others think, Loafman adds only time will tell if this move works and stays in place.

“I think it might be moderately effective,” he said.

“I think it will have some intrigue for some people on the fence, but just the length of the commitment itself is a game-changer.”

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