recruiting

The first Navy sailors to participate in the MAVNI program take their oath of citizenship in this 2010 file photo. MAVNI has been controversial since it began in 2008.
Scott Thornbloom / U.S. Navy

From 2009 to 2016, the Defense Department recruited more than 10,000 non-citizens into the armed forces. Now some say they're being discharged without explanation.

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Sailors at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. raise a flag to recognize the station's success at retaining personnel. The Navy recognizes units that do a good job keeping sailors in the service.
Greg Mitchell / U.S. Navy

As the Navy plans to increase the number of ships, it's looking for new ways to keep sailors in the service, even allowing them to leave for a year and come back.

Cadets at St. Mary's University Army ROTC participate in a morning workout.
Carson Frame / American Homefront

Since last year, the Army has required a fitness test before recruits start basic training.

Last spring, the Army told recruiters it expected them to enlist 6,000 new soldiers – the largest mid-year increase in its history. It recently also upped its yearly recruitment goal to an unexpected high of 80,000.

Mary Junell / U.S. Army National Guard

The Trump Administration wants to grow the Army substantially, even as potential recruits get harder to find. That's putting more pressure on recruiters than they've seen in years.

Freedom Home and Electronics closed all its stores after being the target of state and federal investigations. It once had more than a dozen stores near military bases, including this one in Norfolk, Va.
Google Maps

Since 2011, more than 30,000 service members have filed federal complaints about consumer scams. Regulators say troops are frequent targets of predatory lending schemes.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Mo Bolduc shows the display of ribbons and flags that adorn the JROTC room and computer lab at his Florida high school.
Bobbie O'Brien / American Homefront

Family traditions and popular culture are among the things that motivate today's teenagers to join the armed forces.

Navy Petty Officer First Class Mike Spittler already has a nautical scene tattooed on his right arm. Now, he's getting a new tattoo on his left.
Sophie McKibben / American Homefront

Beginning this month, tattoo enthusiasts who serve in the U.S. Navy can ink a lot more of their bodies. The new policy is designed to help recruit millennials, who sometimes have been turned away from military service because they have too much body art.

Selective Service program analysts Vince McClure (right) and Cristine Nguyen demonstrate the machines that would determine who would be drafted if the U.S. reinstates a miliatary draft.
Jagmeet Mac / American Homefront Project

The last American was drafted in 1973, but the U.S. maintains an elaborate infrastructure to re-activate the draft if Congress ever decides it's needed.


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