Army Considers Utilizing AI in Recruiting Process

( – The US military has a recruitment crisis. In fiscal year 2023, the services fell 41,000 short of the number of people they needed to bring in to maintain numbers — and there’s no sign of things improving. Our armed forces aren’t alone in facing this problem; the British military is also struggling to attract young people to its ranks. Now, desperate recruiters are turning to AI to speed up the process.

Britain Tries AI Fix for Recruiting Crisis

Every year since 2018, the British Army has failed to recruit enough new soldiers to balance out the number who are leaving. Experts blame many factors for the problem, including the growth of woke ideology in the Ministry of Defence and among senior officers, overstretch caused by decades of defense cuts, and military pay that’s lagging behind civilian jobs.

However, most of the criticism is being aimed at outsourcing specialist Capita, which won a ten-year contract to take over recruitment from the Army’s in-house staff in 2012. As soon as the company took over, recruitment crashed. Instead of starting training within three or four months of applying to join, many potential recruits found themselves waiting for a year or more as inexperienced staff struggled to track their paperwork, and many simply gave up and found other jobs. Now, in a last desperate attempt to hang onto the contract — which expires this year after a two-year extension –- Capita is bringing in an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system to help it process candidates.

With over 40,000 people a year applying to join the British military, that many medical records need to be analyzed to check that potential recruits meet the standards. Capita has already lowered those standards to allow recruits with a history of asthma or hay fever (despite the obvious risks of making a hay fever sufferer crawl through long grass) but is still struggling to process medical files in a reasonable time — even though the Army somehow managed to do it for several hundred years.

To solve this problem, Capita has now developed an AI-based tool which, it says, can cut application times by 25%. A spokesman said that while “face-to-face contact and engagement” (something Capita has been criticized for reducing) is key to recruitment, AI can make some parts of the process “quicker, simpler and more effective.” Despite this, though the company has recently admitted it’s only likely to make 70% of its recruiting target this year.

So could AI be the answer to the US military’s recruiting crisis? Well, it probably wouldn’t do any actual harm, but our armed forces aren’t struggling to get applicants into basic training before they lose interest — they’re struggling to get them to apply at all.

To beat this recruiting crisis, perhaps our military needs to stop prioritizing diversity because it’s alienating the demographic that’s always been the bedrock of our defense. Anyone who meets the standards is welcome in the US military. The problem is, the current administration’s relentless focus on wokeness could be making some feel more welcome than others.

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