The United States Army, which has been falling short of its yearly recruitment goal, is trying new ways to increase their applicant pool, get recruits through basic training and pass the Army Combat Fitness test.  

Col. J.R. West with Army Recruiting Command out of Fort Knox, Kentucky, talked about some of the issues the Army has faced.  

“2022 was the most challenging environment we’ve faced since the inception of the all-volunteer force in 1973,” he said.  

Last year, the Army fell short of its 60,000-soldier recruitment goal by 15,000 recruits. In 2023, the recruitment goal is even higher: 65,000.  

West said there are a number of factors in play, including the pandemic, which shrunk the number of eligible Americans who fit both the academic and physical standards for enlistment.  

“Only 23% of our population is eligible to serve, which is a decrease over the last few years from 29%,” he said.  

In order to increase the quantity of eligible recruits without decreasing the quality of Army standards, the Army has started the Future Soldier Preparatory Course.  

It’s a type of pre-boot camp that targets both the academic side and the physical side that new recruits must reach in order to get into basic training.  

KTLA’s Pedro Rivera reports.