March 22, 2023

Duckworth Secures Support from Military Leadership for Her Efforts to Expand and Bolster DoD Recruitment, Addresses Additional Recruiting Challenges Facing Military


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — During a full committee hearing today, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, discussed how the military can expand and improve recruitment efforts as well as how increasing diversity among the ranks improves our national security. During her remarks, Duckworth advocated for and secured support from the Under Secretary of the Army, the Under Secretary of the Navy and the Acting Under Secretary for the Air Force for her efforts, like the ENLIST Act, to expand the pool of recruits to include candidates like DACA recipients and other long-time residents of this country who can pass a Department of Defense (DoD) background check and meet the Services’ high standards for enlistment. Video of the Senator’s full remarks can be found here.

“The Services are struggling to meet their recruiting goals in part due to a historically small pool of eligible recruits,” said Duckworth. “I appreciate your departments’ efforts to address the many causes of this problem, but I think we also need to talk about other ways to expand the recruiting pool. This year, I’m introducing the ENLIST Act, which will maintain the Department’s security standards while aiding the Services’ recruitment efforts by allowing highly skilled and motivated individuals to succeed in the military.”

The Senator also addressed the recruiting challenge that many young people who could qualify to serve view that potential service as “putting the rest of their life on hold” if they joined the military. She highlighted that the reserve components can give individuals the opportunity to serve while also pursuing a civilian career and asked witnesses to speak to the strategy for reaching those potential recruits.

“As a member of the reserve component, I was working on my PhD and my goal of joining the foreign service until an RPG changed my life trajectory,” said Duckworth.

Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She is a Purple Heart recipient and one of the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.