Lauren C. Moye, FISM News
The U.S. Army defended its recruitment problems against Republican allegations by claiming the low recruitment is being driven by young people’s safety concerns, not by ‘woke’ ideology.
Last year was a dismal recruitment year for all military branches. The Army was particularly hit hard as it fell short of its 60,000 recruitment goal by nearly 15,000 soldiers, or 25%, of its goal.
During this period, the Army invested in professional surveys for four months to establish why young people were not joining the military branch. The surveys were completed by roughly 600 respondents ages 16 to 28.
“Officials said that based on the surveys, young people simply do not see the Army as a safe place or good career path, and believe they would have to put their lives and careers on hold if they enlisted,” Military.com reported.
The top three reasons given for rejecting all military branches were fear of death, concerns about post-traumatic stress disorder after serving, and leaving loved ones behind, the Army said. Around 20% of respondents said they felt a need to put their life on hold if they joined the military.
Army leaders were quick to show that “wokeness” in the military did not deter enlistments.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said the surveys were a tool to “assuage the concerns that some may have, whether influencers or members of Congress, about wokeness or the vaccine mandate — which is now rescinded — and show they are not, by any means, primary drivers of the recruiting challenges we’re experiencing.”
Wormuth referred to a vocal group of House Republicans who have criticized the Biden administration for hampering military recruitment efforts with his administration’s military decisions, of course.
These Republicans have questioned the wisdom of emphasizing woke policies through things like diversity and inclusion programs. They have also criticized poor decisions like the delayed destruction of the Chinese spy balloon and the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal for showing military weakness.
ARMY SAYS WOKENESS IS NOT A CHIEF REASON FOR LOW RECRUITMENT
According to Army leaders, however, only 5% of recruits directly listed wokeness as a chief reason for not finishing the enlistment process. This stat is supposed to silence opposition.
In reality, it shows an oversimplification and a refusal to hear the actual concerns voiced by those military veterans who serve in Congress.
“Yes, military service is not as desirable, but there’s a reason why,” Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mon.) said to Fox News. “We’re just not comfortable with this administration. Rather than address the problem of what the military is, they’re gonna lower the bar.”
Zinke is one of 82 military veterans currently serving in the House of Representatives. Of these veterans, 53 are Republicans. This shows the wide discrepancy between the political standards of those who have served among U.S. politicians and the current leadership.
The Army continued to defend itself by downplaying the low percentage of recruits who turned away because of wokeness by juxtaposing the statement with the 13% of recruits who didn’t enlist because of concerns about sexism and racism in the military.
In doing so, they ignored another key Republican concern that the emphasis on diversity and inclusion is contributing to a negative view of the military overall.
In fact, the discussions about white supremacy and how it correlates with recruitment data is one point that Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), an Army veteran, is collecting through his work with the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.
While most data is not public, Waltz did say that 68% of active-duty service members do not currently want to encourage their children to join the military with its emphasis on climate, gender issues, and other woke policies. This is consistent with a previous FISM report on how woke policies are destroying the military and discouraging recruitment.
“You have these narratives of how bad the military is, overlaid with how bad our country is — why is that a country you would want to go put your life on the line?” Waltz recently told Breitbart.
GROWING DISTRUST OF LEADERSHIP AND SAFETY
Even if you ignore an interlink between the woke emphasis on diversity and the growing belief that the military isn’t a safe place for women and minorities, it will be difficult for military leaders to downplay one other stat that gives credibility to the GOP’s complaints. The survey showed that 10% said they did not trust military leadership after witnessing the ramifications of some decisions.
While the specific events that contributed to this growing feeling among potential recruits were not discussed, this distrust certainly feeds into fear that military service will lead to a young person’s death.
“Some question if they want to serve during the Biden administration after the Afghanistan debacle,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), an Air Force Veteran, said to Fox News last week.
The Afghanistan withdrawal led to the deaths of 13 service members, portraying weakness.
Republicans also point to the invasion of Ukraine — which President Joe Biden failed to deter — and the Chinese spy balloon as other examples of military weakness that will discourage young people from enlisting.
When this happens, Republicans warn that a look at what military leaders seem to emphasize instead only adds another layer to the distrust.
“Some also see the administration pushing woke policies on the military and taking an eye off developing the best warfighting force in the world,” Bacon added.
The Army has set a recruitment goal of 65,000 for this year.