ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS)-- Kristyn Jones, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, performing the duties of under secretary of the Air Force, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee at the U.S. Capitol March 22.
Alongside testimony from other Department of Defense undersecretaries, Jones spoke on recruiting challenges currently facing the Department of the Air Force.
Jones said the Air Force would likely fall short of its enlisted active duty recruiting goals by more than 10% in 2023, and the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard are projected to miss their goals as well, but that the Space Force is expected to meet its quotas for the year.
Responding to these recruiting challenges, Jones said the DAF has increased its marketing programs using an additional $150 million appropriated by Congress, including implementing new digital marketing initiatives, which she credited as already driving more than 90% more new user traffic to DAF recruiting websites. She also said in-person recruiters have dramatically increased their presence in schools and public events.
In addition to increased marketing and engagement, Jones also discussed ways that the DAF is increasing incentives, such as the recent reinstatement of its enlisted college loan repayment program. She also highlighted ongoing efforts to remove barriers to service to increase its pool of potential recruits. Jones underscored that these changes do not lower standards for service and include items such as revisions to tattoo policies and body composition requirements at the time of accession for otherwise-eligible recruits.
Besides departmental actions, Jones also iterated that Congress’s continuing support for recruiting and modernization is critical to the department’s future readiness.