As the military struggles to meet its recruiting targets, which the Army will miss again this year, the service’s recruiting chief issued a directive Friday standardizing recent changes to how it removes underperformers.
The memo from Army Recruiting Command’s Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis implemented recent changes to the Army regulation governing how recruiters are assigned to — and, if necessary, removed from — recruiting duty. Command officials did not immediately respond to emailed questions from Army Times about the memo, which has circulated on social media in recent days.
One of the biggest changes: the command will remove “ineffective” recruiters without giving them a negative evaluation, including both permanent 79R recruiters and those involuntarily selected by the Army for temporary tours. Under the previous regulation, recruiting commanders had the discretion to slap failed Army-selected recruiters with “relief for cause” evaluations that could torpedo the recipient’s career, regardless of their competence in their primary specialty.
The memo defined “ineffective recruiters” as those who have been assigned to the command for at least a year but have signed two or fewer recruits since October. Davis noted that each recruiter assigned to a production role, which comes with extra pay, is responsible for “at least” one contract per month.
Recruiting leaders must counsel and offer remedial training to substandard recruiters before tagging them as ineffective and involuntarily reassigning them, according to the regulation.
Davis said that over the next 90 days, the command will “immediately” reassign ineffective recruiters who received the required counseling and training but haven’t improved. Army-selected recruiters who haven’t received the paperwork necessary to justify the ineffective designation “will be offered voluntary reassignment outside of the [recruiting] command, without a negative [evaluation],” he added.
Recruiters who haven’t produced contracts “through no fault of their own” won’t face reassignment, the memo said. Such reasons could include non-recruiting temporary duty assignments, medical leave, parental leave or holding a role that requires voluminous administrative work such as commanding a large recruiting station.
The move to boot non-performers off recruiting duty comes amid efforts to transform how the service selects, trains and assigns recruiting personnel.
One effort is a special assignment battery that can help officials assess whether a noncommissioned officer is a better fit for recruiting duty or drill sergeant duty, two of the main involuntary assignments that many staff sergeants find themselves selected for.
But the new regulation also eased some assignment eligibility qualifications, reducing the required general technical (GT) and skilled-technical test score requirements from 95 points to 90 points. Soldiers who have a GED rather than a high school diploma are now also eligible for recruiting duty, regardless of college credits.
The top general for Training and Doctrine Command, Gen. Gary Brito, told Army Times in March that the Army’s recruiting school is undergoing an “overhaul” and has changed its curriculum to include an expanded real-world exercise and lessons about the practical implications of living farther away from a military installation.
New recruiters may be better aligned with places they and their families are comfortable living and working, Davis said in recent remarks at an Association of the U.S. Army event.
“We want [recruiters] to be allowed to be part of the assignment process of where they go,” the recruiting general said. “We want the families to be involved.”
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army. He focuses on investigations, personnel concerns and military justice. Davis, also a Guard veteran, was a finalist in the 2023 Livingston Awards for his work with The Texas Tribune investigating the National Guard's border missions. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill.