The outsourcing company Capita has managed to bring in fewer than one in 10 of the recruits needed by the Army.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD)'s revealed the figures which relate to the first quarter of the year.
Giving evidence to the Commons Defence Committee, the Permanent Secretary at the MoD Stephen Lovegrove acknowledged that Capita had "underperformed".
That drew an angry response from MPs on the committee who warned the service was "withering on the vine" and called for the contractor to be sacked.
The Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Mark Poffley, said that in the three months to August, the Army had recruited just 10% of the officer recruits and 7% of the other ranks it needed for 2018-19.
That compared with recruitment 22% of the officers and 20% of other ranks for the Royal Navy, 100% of officers and 10% of other ranks for the Royal Marines, and 56% of officers and 48% of other ranks for the RAF.
Tory MP Mark Francois said that since Capita was controversially awarded the contract for Army recruitment it had consistently failed to meet its targets and branded the situation a "farce":
"The whole of the department knows Capita are a disaster. They know nothing about recruitment. How badly do you have to fail before you get sacked by your department?
"The Army is withering on the vine because it is being starved of recruits because these people haven't got a clue what they are doing.
"The Army is a basket case. This is affecting our ability to fight."
Mr Lovegrove acknowledged Capita had "clearly underperformed" but said the problems with Army recruitment went beyond the contractor adding:
"Employment in the nation generally is fairly buoyant. That is not for recruitment, certainly to other ranks in the Army, a particularly propitious backdrop."
"A lot has been done with Capita. I don't think it would be reasonable to expect instant results from a big super-tanker such as Army recruitment."
A spokesperson for Capita said in a statement: “We are actively working in partnership with the Army to support the MoD’s plans for recruitment.
"Applications to join the British Army remain strong and interest in joining the Army is growing, due to ongoing campaigns including the 'This is Belonging' campaign.
“We continue to introduce improvements to the recruitment process, and we are confident that the changed service we are putting in place will deliver better outcomes for candidates and for the Army.”
The outsourcing company has held the contract for Army recruiting since 2012.