United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC)
US Army Recruiting Command SSI.png
Active1964 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Army
TypeArmy Command
RoleArmy Recruiting and Accessions
Part of United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
Garrison/HQFort Knox, Kentucky
Motto(s)"Provide The Strength"
Commanding GeneralMaj. Gen. Johnny K. Davis
Deputy Commanding General (Operations)Brig. Gen. John Cushing
Deputy Commanding General (Support)Brig. Gen. Daphne Davis
Command Sergeant MajorVacant
Distinctive Unit Insignia

The United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) is responsible for manning both the United States Army and the Army Reserve. Recruiting operations are conducted throughout the United States, U.S. territories, and at U.S. military facilities in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. This process includes the recruiting, medical and psychological examination, induction, and administrative processing of potential service personnel.[1]

USAREC is a major subordinate command under the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), and is commanded by a Major General and assisted by a Deputy Commanding General (Brigadier General) and a Command Sergeant Major. The Command employs nearly 15,000 military and civilian personnel, the majority being Soldiers that are screened and selected to serve on recruiting duty for three to four years. Upon completing their recruiting assignment, these Soldiers can either return to their primary military occupational specialty (MOS) or volunteer to remain in the recruiting career field; those that remain in the recruiting career field are considered cadre recruiters and comprise the majority of the enlisted leadership of the command, providing experience, training, and continuity to the recruiting force.


Recruiting for the U.S. Army began in 1775 with the raising and training of the Continentals to fight in the American Revolutionary War. The Command traces its organizational history to 1822, when Major General Jacob Jennings Brown, commanding general of the Army, initiated the General Recruiting Service.[2] For much of the rest of the 19th century recruitment was left to the regimental recruiting parties, usually recruiting in their regional areas as was the practice in Europe.

Up to the commencement of the American Civil War two types of forces existed in the United States that performed their own recruiting: those for the Regular Army, and those for the state Militia.

Due to severe shortage of troops after the first year of the war, conscription was introduced by both the Union and the Confederacy to enable continuing of operations on a thousand-mile front. Conscription was first introduced in the Confederacy by President Jefferson Davis on the recommendation by General Robert E. Lee on 16 April 1862. The United States Congress enacted by comfortable majorities the Enrollment Act of 1863 on 3 March after two weeks of debate.[3] As a result, approximately 2,670,000 men were conscripted for federal and militia service by the Northern states.

The realization that volunteers could never again be depended on for service was clear in the post-war analysis, but the dependence on them prevailed until the commencement of World War I when President Woodrow Wilson, arguing for America's exclusion from the European war, believed that there would be found sufficient volunteers to meet the nation's military needs.[4] However, European experiences with industrial warfare prevailed, and two years later Congress passed the Selective Service Act of 1917.[5] There were two primary reasons for President Wilson approving conscription: he recognized the efficiency and equity of the draft over the difficult-to-manage system of inducting and training volunteers, and that by opting for conscription, he realized the possibility of blocking one of his leading political critics and opponents, former President Theodore Roosevelt, from raising a volunteer force to lead in France.[6] The Act was however very selective in that "the draft 'selected' those men the Army wanted and society could best spare: 90 percent of the draftees were unmarried, and 70 percent were farm hands or manual hands."[7]

Conscription was again used to quickly grow the nation's small peacetime Army in 1940 into a wartime Army of more than 8.3 million personnel. However, there was a society-wide support for the conscription during World War II, in part due to efforts of the National Emergency Committee (NEC) of the Military Training Corps Association led by Greenville Clark who became known as the "Father of Selective Service." The Congress, faced with imminent need to mobilize, still took three months of debate until finally passing the Selective Training and Service Act (STASA) of 1940 on 16 September 1940. Nearly 50 million men registered and 10 million were inducted into armed forces under the Act.

Although the STASA was extended after the war, it ended on 31 March 1947, and the Army had to turn to recruiting volunteers again, requiring and estimated 30,000 volunteers a month, but seeing only 12,000 enlisting.[8]

With the Cold War looming, the Congress authorized the Selective Service Act of 1948 to enable President Harry S. Truman to provide for 21 months of active Federal service, with all men from ages 18 to 26 required to register. This Act was extended due to the start of the Korean War, and replaced by the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951 by revising the earlier Act.

The new Act extended the president’s authority to induct citizens for four years, granted him the authority to recall reservists, lowered the draft age to 18, lengthened the term of service to two years, and cancelled deferments for married men without children.[8]

With the end of the Korean War, the draft remained in force, but became increasingly unpopular although it continued to encourage volunteers and selected the bare minimum of annual recruits. Repeatedly renewed by overall majorities in Congress in 1955, 1959, and 1963, its final extension in 1967 was also passed by a majority of Congress, but only after a year of hearings and public debate. The U.S. Army became an all-volunteer force again in 1973. During the years of the Vietnam War between From 1965 to 1973, there were 1,728,254 inductions through selective service.[9] There was however a direct effect on public support for the draft that was high even after the Korean War to its low in early 1970s because

Draftees, who constituted only 16 percent of the armed forces, but 88 percent of infantry soldiers in Vietnam, accounted for over 50 percent of combat deaths in 1969, a peak year for casualties. Little wonder that the draft became the focus of anti-Vietnam activism.[10]

With these political consequences in mind in 1969 President Nixon appointed a commission, led by former Secretary of Defense Thomas Gates, "to develop a comprehensive plan for eliminating conscription and moving toward an All Volunteer Armed Force." However, even before this commission submitted its report on 13 May 1969, President Nixon informed the Congress that he intended to institute a reform that would see the draftees replaced with volunteers in his Special Message to Congress on Reforming the Military Draft. In February 1970, the Gates Commission released its favorable AVF report, which stated that

"We unanimously believe that the nation’s interests will be better served by an all-volunteer force, supported by an effective stand-by draft, than by a mixed force of volunteers and conscripts; that steps should be taken promptly to move in this direction."[11]

Facilitating the transition to an all-volunteer force, the Army created District Recruiting Commands (DRC) through the continental United States to direct the efforts of its recruiters among the civilian population. The DRC's became "Battalions" in 1983.

Organizational structure

USAREC Brigades and Battalions
USAREC Brigades and Battalions

USAREC consists of a division headquarters, five enlisted recruiting brigades, one medical and chaplain recruiting brigade, one recruiting support brigade, and one training brigade.

USAREC Headquarters

USAREC headquarters is located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and provides the strategic command and support to the Army's recruiting force. More than 400 officers, enlisted members and civilian employees work in one of the command's eight directorates and 14 staff sections, conducting administration, personnel, resource management, safety, market research and analysis, and public relations operations in support of the recruiting mission and the Soldiers and civilians working to achieve it. The headquarters complex and the personnel working there are managed by a Headquarters Company commanded by a Captain and assisted by a First Sergeant.

Enlisted Recruiting Brigades

Recruiting Brigades

Five enlisted recruiting brigades make up the bulk of USAREC's recruiting force, and are responsible for the achievement of nearly all of the Army and Army Reserve's yearly recruitment missions. Each brigade is commanded by a Colonel and assisted by a Command Sergeant Major, a Headquarters Company, and support staff. Each brigade commands between seven and eight recruiting battalions and is responsible for the operational command and control of all Army recruiting operations within one of five regional geographic areas.

Recruiting Battalions, Companies, and Stations

Forty-four enlisted recruiting battalions are responsible for the tactical, or day-to-day, command and control of 261 Army recruiting companies conducting recruiting operations within their specific geographic areas. Each battalion is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel who is assisted by a Command Sergeant Major and a support staff, and provide the local-level command, planning, and guidance to six to eight recruiting companies and approximately 250 recruiters within their area of operations. Each company is commanded by a Captain who is assisted by a First Sergeant, and they lead approximately 30 to 45 recruiters located at one of 1,400 local recruiting stations spread throughout the cities and towns within the battalion's geographic area of operations.

Each Army Recruiting Station is commanded by a Station Commander, a successful cadre recruiter in the rank of Staff Sergeant or Sergeant First Class selected to lead an office of three to 15 recruiters in conducting the actual mission of recruiting qualified people into the Army. The recruiters in these recruiting stations represent the best of the Army to the American public; for many Americans an Army recruiter might be their first exposure to anyone currently in the military, so the Soldiers selected as recruiters are thoroughly screened both before and throughout their assignment for anything that could prevent them from properly representing the Army in public and successfully completing their mission.

Enlisted Recruiting Structure

The five enlisted recruiting brigades and their respective battalions are:[12]

Medical Recruiting Brigade

U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade
U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade

The U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade, is located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and is tasked with recruiting medical professionals and chaplains for direct commission into the Regular Army and Army Reserve as Army Medical Department or Army Chaplain Corps officers along with providing operational oversight for the Army's special operations forces recruiting efforts.[18] The brigade is commanded by a Colonel and assisted by a Command Sergeant Major, a Headquarters Company, and support staff that provide operational command and control to five medical recruiting battalions, the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, and a chaplain recruiting branch covering the entire United States and Europe.

Marketing and Engagement Brigade

U.S. Army Mission Support Battalion
U.S. Army Parachute Team, "Golden Knights"
U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit

The U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade, located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, serves as USAREC's recruiting support brigade and is tasked with providing both direct and indirect support to the enlisted and medical recruiting brigades through demonstrations, displays, and engagement with the American public in order to show the skills and benefits of Army service and enhance the Army's recruiting and retention missions.[21] The brigade is commanded by a Colonel and assisted by a Command Sergeant Major, a Headquarters Company, and support staff that provide operational command and control to three specialized support battalions:

Recruiting and Retention College

United States Army Recruiting and Retention College
United States Army Recruiting and Retention College

The U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention College, located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, serves as USAREC's training brigade and is responsible for the training and education of all Army and Army Reserve recruiters, career counselors, and recruiting leaders. (The Army National Guard manages its own recruiting and retention program and trains its personnel at the Strength Maintenance Training Center at Camp Robinson, Arkansas.) The college is part of the Army University system, and reports to both the USAREC commanding general for operational command and control and to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command for management and certification of its educational programs.

The college is commanded by a Colonel who serves as the institution's Commandant and is assisted by a Command Sergeant Major (who also serves as Commandant of the college's Noncommissioned Officer Academy), civilian Dean, a Headquarters Company, and support staff that manages and supports approximately 110 Soldiers and civilians, the majority of whom are senior cadre recruiters and career counselors that have been selected to serve for two to three years as instructors based on exceptional past performance in multiple recruiting or retention positions. Approximately 6,500 Soldiers and civilians each year are trained at the college, attending one of the 16 courses offered covering recruiting, career counseling, recruiting leadership, unit command, senior executive leadership, and staff positions. Students selected for duty as field recruiters or career counselors must first graduate from their respective certification course taught at the college in order to serve in those roles in the Army and be authorized to wear the Army Recruiter Badge or Army Career Counselor Badge as a permanent award on their uniform.

U.S. Army Recruiter Badge
U.S. Army Career Counselor Badge

In addition to training the recruiting and retention force, the college provides training to new instructors and training managers for both USAREC and the Army, writes and publishes Army recruiting regulations and doctrine, creates and manages career progression plans for Army recruiters and career counselors, conducts recruiter training missions with foreign nations to share knowledge and best practices, and coordinates with civilian higher learning institutions and accrediting agencies for the awarding of civilian college credits and certifications to the college's graduates.[29] Courses taught at the college are regularly evaluated by the American Council on Education for awarding of civilian college credits towards undergraduate degrees, and the college received an initial six-year accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education in March 2021 which provided the college with a civilian accreditation of its training and educational standards and placed it as one of only 45 COE-accredited federal training and education institutions.[30]


Current key command personnel of the Command include:[31]

Past commanders

See also

Comparable organizations

Notes and references

  1. ^ "U.S. Army Recruiting Command – About".
  2. ^ pp.54–55, Vandergriff
  3. ^ p.56, Vandergriff
  4. ^ "State of the Union Address – Teaching American History". teachingamericanhistory.org.
  5. ^ pp.57, Vandergriff
  6. ^ pp.58, Vandergriff
  7. ^ p.58, Vandergriff
  8. ^ a b p.60, Vandergriff
  9. ^ p.61, Vandergriff
  10. ^ pp. 23–50, van Creveld
  11. ^ p.10, Gates
  12. ^ Map of US Army recruiting brigades and battalions
  13. ^ "U.S. Army 1st Recruiting Brigade".
  14. ^ "U.S. Army 2d Recruiting Brigade".
  15. ^ "U.S. Army 3d Recruiting Brigade".
  16. ^ "U.S. Army 5th Recruiting Brigade".
  17. ^ "U.S. Army 6th Recruiting Brigade".
  18. ^ "U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade".
  19. ^ "U.S. Army Special Operations Recruiting Battalion (Airborne)".
  20. ^ "U.S. Army Chaplain Corps Recruiting".
  21. ^ "U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade".
  22. ^ "U.S. Army Mission Support Battalion".
  23. ^ "U.S. Army ESports Team".
  24. ^ "U.S. Army Esports – Twitch.tv".
  25. ^ "U.S. Army Musical Outreach Team".
  26. ^ "U.S. Army Parachute Team, "Golden Knights"".
  27. ^ 13 Gold, 6 Silver, 6 Bronze —(25 July 2021) Amber English Takes Gold in Women's Skeet Shooting, Sets Olympic Record Amber English is part of U.S. Army marksmanship unit. English is a 1st Lt. in the U.S. Army. English is part of the Army's World Class Athlete Program
  28. ^ "U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit".
  29. ^ "U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention College".
  30. ^ Donahoe, Keith (29 March 2021). "Recruiting and Retention College receives accreditation". Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  31. ^ "Command Group".