Recruiting new young men and women for the armed forces was already tough but it has gotten even harder in the age of Joe Biden’s ‘woke’ new military.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that veterans are contributing to the recruitment crisis in the U.S. armed forces by dissuading their family members, who constitute a significant majority of new recruits, from pursuing military service.
According to the outlet, nearly 80 percent of new recruits have family members with military service backgrounds. However, these family members are increasingly questioning the value of military service in light of the potential costs, such as the rising rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and reliance on welfare programs.
The recent events in Afghanistan, where the Taliban took control, have further fueled these concerns, the outlet noted further. Additionally, the military has faced significant criticism from GOP lawmakers who argue that its emphasis on “woke” initiatives, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), is exacerbating the recruiting crisis by alienating potential recruits.
“We’re left with the gut-wrenching feeling of, ‘What was it all for?’” Navy veteran Catalina Gasper, who was wounded in a Taliban attack in July 2019 that left her with lingering brain damage, said, according to the WSJ. “I just don’t see how it’s sustainable if the machine keeps chewing up and spitting out” the nation’s youth, she added.
The Daily Caller noted further:
Gasper said that she and her husband, an Army veteran with over two decades of service, used to talk to their children, now aged 7 and 10, about joining the military, but now she intends to ensure her kids never join, according to the outlet.
Just 9% of Americans aged 16-21 expressed a willingness to consider a military career in 2022, down from the pre-pandemic norm of 13%, the WSJ reported, citing Pentagon data.
The Navy is currently grappling with two significant hurdles in recruiting: historically low fitness eligibility and limited interest among young Americans. As a response to the deepening crisis, the Navy has recently implemented a six-day workweek for recruiters as part of an “all-hands effort” to enhance recruitment.
In an attempt to reach a wider pool of potential candidates, the Navy enlisted the services of Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who performs as Harpy Daniels, an active-duty drag queen. From October 2022 to March 2023, Kelley served as a “digital ambassador” for the Navy, to “explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates,” a spokesperson added.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the lowest-ranking service members earn less than $2,000 per month, although this may be supplemented by the military covering food and housing expenses. However, the report highlights that around 20,000 active-duty soldiers are currently reliant on food stamps.
In an effort to improve recruitment and retention, different branches of the military are offering substantial bonuses to both new recruits and experienced veterans. These bonuses aim to provide incentives and attract individuals to join and remain in the military.
“To be honest with you it’s Wendy’s, it’s Carl’s Jr., it’s every single job that a young person can go up against because now they are offering the same incentives that we are offering, so that’s our competition right now,” Sgt. Maj. Marco Irenze of the Nevada Army National Guard, told the WSJ.