The Army has met its retention goals four months ahead of schedule, according to the service’s top enlisted soldier.

On June 10 during remarks at the Army’s birthday festival held at the National Museum of the United States Army near Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston shared the news.

“You know we have great soldiers and I do love our soldiers and they join a great team,” Grinston said. “And I can say for the last four years when they join, they’ve stayed on the team. We’ve met our retention goals every year for the last four years and this year, we’ve already met our retention goals.”

The service has met and set goals of retaining or re-enlisting between 50,000 and 60,000 soldiers heading toward the end of their service obligations even as the Army and other services struggle with recruiting new troops and an overall shrinking of the size of the total force.

Recruiting and end strength annual goals are set on the fiscal calendar; the fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Army Times reported in January that Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville set a focus on continued success in retaining soldiers.

“Retention is at a historical high, [and] we don’t take that for granted,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville at an Association of the U.S. Army event.

The chief also said commanders had higher retention goals than in 2022, despite the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill setting the Army’s end strength goal at 452,000 troops.

The end strength number is a drop of 12,000 from the estimated 465,000 soldiers who were on active duty in October, and McConville acknowledged that the decrease is “a function of our ability to recruit.”

Specific data on this year’s retention goals were not immediately available as of press time.

But according to recent testimony by Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo, reported by the news outlet Defense One, the goal was 55,100 soldiers.

Less than 1% of soldiers who were eligible to leave the Army in the past two years did leave the Army, according to Defense One.

In May, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth acknowledged publicly that the Army is likely to fall short of its recruiting goal of 65,000 new soldiers, the outlet reported.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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