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The U.S. Army announced a restructuring and will cut 24,000 unfilled jobs


The U.S. Army announced that it'll cut about 24,000 jobs. Most of those cuts will be to positions the Army had previously been trying to fill. Now, this comes during a time of transition with the military increasingly focused on countering China and Russia and with the U.S. Army falling short of last year's recruiting goals by over 40,000 jobs. I spoke recently with General Randy George, the Army chief of staff, as he traveled back from a visit to Camp Pendleton here in California, and I asked whether these numbers represented a setback or a restructuring.

RANDY GEORGE: For us, you know, it's a restructuring. Obviously, A, we're also focused on recruiting. And I know because I came into the Army right out of high school. I came in because I wanted to get money for college. I'd meet a lot of them that came in for a lot of those same reasons. And so we obviously want to get the word out that the military is a great place to serve. The Army's a great place to serve. We're doing a little bit better this year. We want to continue that or grow back additional capabilities that we need in the future.

MARTÍNEZ: I was reading a survey of military members, General, that say their enthusiasm to recommend. The military has declined significantly because some of the things we keep seeing is that sometimes people feel that when they're in the military and the country's objectives abroad aren't, say, fulfilled, they feel like maybe it was a waste, or maybe it wasn't worth their efforts to go out there and be part of this.

GEORGE: You know, what I tell everybody is that they did the mission that they were asked to do, and I was part of that on several occasions. So we have leaders that decide what our military is going to do in defense of our country and defense of our national interest. And our soldiers stand ready to abide by those and to get out there and to get the mission done.

MARTÍNEZ: What about quality of life when it comes to military members and their families? How do you sell them on the importance of their service, even if maybe a conflict doesn't go their way?

GEORGE: We have some things that we're obviously continuing to focus on. Like anybody with a budget, I think we got - we're focused on our efforts, on what we need to do to continue to improve barracks. We're focused on, you know, what we need to continue to do to improve housing. That's something that we have to do every year.

MARTÍNEZ: Now, along with this restructuring, there's a shift in the U.S. Army to counter Chinese and Russian military might. What does that mean exactly for what the U.S. Army does day to day?

GEORGE: The world is changing. And, you know, our job is to make sure that we're staying ahead of those advancements. And I think if anybody watches the news, they see what's changing in the world. And it's up to us as leaders to make sure that we are changing and adapting. We're, you know, focused on making sure that we have the capability to do what our nation might call upon us to do.

MARTÍNEZ: What would you say, General, is the Army's biggest success over the last few years and, say, the biggest mistake or regret - something that could have been done better?

GEORGE: We've done really well with deliberate modernization, and then I think we can do better at getting the word out to everybody on, you know, how great a place that the military is to serve. I think we can do better at that, getting the word out and letting everybody know all the opportunities.

MARTÍNEZ: That's chief of staff of the United States Army, General Randy George. General, thanks.

GEORGE: Hey, thanks, A. I appreciate the time. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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