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RECRUITING CRISIS: GOP Lawmakers Grill Service Branches Over 'Woke' Perception of Military

US military troop (Adobe stock image)

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military is experiencing one of the worst recruiting shortfalls in 50 years. In fiscal year 2023, the military branches collectively missed their recruiting goals by approximately 41,000 recruits.

Earlier this week, representatives from each, testified before the House Armed Services Committee about the underlying causes behind the shortfall.

"Thirty years ago when I was in high school, 40 percent of youth had a parent that served, but today, that number is under 13 percent," said Alex Wagner, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

While witnesses outlined challenges ranging from getting recruiters into schools during COVID, to a decrease in eligibility, Republicans zeroed in on polling that suggests the problem is because the military has become, "the administration's next social justice project."

"This poll, which we can all read, found that 73 percent of veterans believe the U.S. military has become too political, regarding race, gender, sexuality. Even worse, a quarter of the veterans would tell young people not to enlist," said Rep. Jim Banks, (R-Indiana). 

"We're now at the third time having this conversation about recruiting, and rather than actually listening to experts saying, 'It's complicated,' because it is complicated, we're still marching out these kinds Breitbart, provenance unknown, questionnaires," argued Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA).

"When cadets, military families, and active duty members stop bringing us these issues, then we'll stop talking about it. But as long as they are, we have a duty to address these issues," said Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL).

Only two military branches met their active duty, enlisted, and recruiting goals for 2023 - the Marine Corps and the Space Force. 

Wagner credits the success to an Air Force pilot program which waives previous requirements on body composition, tattoo placement, and THC use. 

"These and other efforts resulted in approximately 2,900 new accessions in 2023. That's 2,900 high-quality individuals, with a propensity to serve, that would have otherwise been excluded," Wagner told lawmakers. 

All branches admit it's critical to find ways to persuade Gen-Z to take an interest in military service. That's because as one of the most tech-savvy generations, their skill sets will likely be key to future military readiness. 


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