The Biden Pentagon is falling far short of its military recruitment goals, prompting frequent high-level meetings on the issue and the consideration of dropping some of its 250 disqualifiers for military service, according to a recent report from NBC News.
According to the report, the Pentagon may overlook certain medical conditions such as asthma and ADHD, and put more effort into recruiting illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as young children.
It is not exactly clear how bad the problem is for every branch, but the Army — the military’s largest branch — is facing historic struggles. It has met only about 40% of its enlisted recruiting mission for fiscal year 2022, which ends in three months on September 30.
In hopes of meeting its goal, the Army last week announced it is dropping its requirement for recruits to have high school diplomas or GED certificates if they can ship to basic training by October 1, according to Military.com.
In March, the Army announced it was reducing its size due to recruiting difficulties — the first time that has ever happened, as reported by Breitbart News.
Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) called it “more serious than any recruiting challenge that I’ve experienced in the years that I’ve been here.”
Defense and military officials publicly blame a tight job market and lack of access to high schools during the COVID lockdowns, but an internal DOD survey shows the military has a messaging problem.
An internal DOD survey obtained by NBC News found that only 9% of young Americans eligible to serve in the military had any inclination to do so, the lowest number since 2007.
In addition, more than half of the young Americans surveyed believed they would have emotional or psychological problems after serving in the military, and nearly half think they would have physical problems.
One Army recruiting station commander who wished to speak anonymously noted that there is currently “no national call to service.”
“I joined simply because of 9/11,” he told Breitbart News.
He also said the idea of serving one’s country is under attack, especially for young Americans who typically make up the military’s recruits.
“National pride is at an all time low and this generation has grown up in an era that sees their nation’s history constantly scrutinized and no longer celebrated,” he added.
Heritage Foundation expert and retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr believes there is a waning propensity for public service.
“Over time American society has placed less and less value on the idea of public service,” he told Breitbart News in an interview in March on the Army’s recruiting difficulties.
Both cited the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years — which the world watched unfold live on television, often in horror.
“The disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan has also caused some to question our military and their competence,” Spoehr said.
“The Afghanistan withdrawal failure played out live at times and people watched. Why be a part of that?” the Army recruiting station commander said.
Both also cited the perception that wokeism in growing in the military.
“There is a sense among the American public that the military is becoming increasingly political and that topics such as race and gender equity, critical race theory, and wokeism in general are commanding more attention, at the cost of readiness,” Spoehr said.
“The media, and to an extent the military, have embraced and pushed the leftwing narrative on a variety of issues,” the Army recruiting station commander said. “The riots of 2020 further demonized American history as well as the south; the area traditionally that supplies most members of the military. Why would they want to be a part of that?”
“People in the south especially will die for their home, not this government,” he added.
Earlier this year, a Gallup poll showed that the public image of military leaders’ ethics has dropped, particularly among Republicans, and a Ronald Reagan Institute poll last year showed that high confidence in the military has declined. Among those with little or not much confidence in the military, the most common answer was “political leadership.”
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) noted that the Biden Pentagon’s coronavirus vaccine mandate was hurting recruitment by automatically disqualifying recruits who did not want to take the vaccine.
“Over 40% of 18-24-year-old men have refused the COVID vaccine. This is the Army’s target demographic,” he tweeted, adding:
In the Southern U.S. — which produces nearly half of enlistments — the proportion of unvaccinated young men is even higher. Here’s the BOTTOM LINE: The Biden Administration is destroying the readiness of our Armed Forces by creating an unnecessary recruiting and retention shortfall, and trying to make up the difference by lowering other crucial education and fitness standards.
Here’s the BOTTOM LINE:
The Biden Administration is destroying the readiness of our Armed Forces by creating an unnecessary recruiting and retention shortfall, and trying to make up the difference by lowering other crucial education and fitness standards.
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) June 28, 2022
A former U.S. Army infantry officer with the 75th Ranger Regiment who works with non-profit veteran service organizations said the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate that the “mandates exposed how little the regime actually cares about its servicemembers.”
To date, the military has kicked out more than 5,000 service members who have chosen not to take the vaccine, with potentially tens of thousands of more on the way.
“All of this over an illness that is very, very, very, unlikely to have any significant effect on the young men and women of our military, and a vaccine that lacks long-term data on safety and efficacy for this cohort,” Johnson added.
All of this over an illness that is very, very, very, unlikely to have any significant effect on the young men and women of our military, and a vaccine that lacks long-term data on safety and efficacy for this cohort.
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) June 28, 2022
The Pentagon seems at a loss over what to do. A defense official told NBC News that it is considering allowing military recruiters to use TikTok, despite security concerns over China mining data for its users — something that is of concern when it comes to both current and future members of the U.S. military.
The Army currently does not allow recruiters to use TikTok, but a second Army recruiting station commander told Breitbart News that other services are already using it in their everyday recruiting efforts.
The Army has created a recruiting “tiger” team, according to the NBC News report, which meetss every two weeks to discuss ways to boost recruitment. In addition to lowering the educational requirements, the Army has boosted bonuses, and is offering more flexible contracts, duty stations of choice, and other perks.
A U.S. military official told NBC News that bonuses can only help so much. “We can throw money at the problem all we want, but until we change how young people see us in uniform, we are going to struggle to get them to raise their right hands,” the official said.
The second recruiting station commander called it the “perfect storm of events.”
“You have workers that during covid that have reevaluated their priorities in life and would rather stay home than work. Seems like everywhere you look these days there’s a side gig you can do besides get an actual job. For example Uber, Lyft, Door Dash etc,” he said.
“Throw in the fact that we’ve not long come off a shutdown, you have the branches of the military mandating a vaccine, which [by the way] has everyone divided, the botched pullout in Afghanistan, and potential war in Russia, among other threats. Kids see this type of stuff,” he said.