By David Kelly
The fact that many potential recruits for the Army are too obese or criminal is adding to historic low recruitment numbers not seen since the end of the Vietnam War.
Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, the commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, shared this week in an interview with The Spokesman-Review that recruitment is so low that the Army won’t meet its goal for 2022 of 485,000, falling short by a staggering 20,000 recruits.
One reason recruitment numbers are down is that fitness issues are causing dwindling interest in military service. The growing sedentary lifestyle of young Americans has led to an obesity crisis. “Overweight and obesity among service members rose 73% from 2011 to 2015,” according to a CDC report, and these individuals are less likely to be medically ready to deploy.
However, even with the challenges of achieving recruitment goals, Gen. Brunson remains optimistic that the nation’s young people will still see value in serving — it’s just a matter of figuring out how to overcome the obstacles in the recruitment process.
“Some of the challenges we have are obesity, we have pre-existing medical conditions, we have behavioral health problems, we have criminality, people with felonies, and we have drug use,” Brunson said. “This is not an Army problem; this is an American problem.”
“The Army needs to enlist the help of key community influencers who can educate young people about military service and ‘lower the gates’ of the Army by meeting those interested in serving halfway,” Brunson said.
The Army says it plans to focus on three principles in its increased recruitment efforts — maintaining its existing standards, focusing on quality rather than quantity, and investing in the youth of America.
To entice recruits, military enlistment bonuses were raised this year. The Army raised its maximum enlistment bonus from $40,000 to $50,000, and now offers new recruits up to $10,000 for showing up to basic training in 30 days.
The Spokesman-Review reported that one Spokane-area recruiter, 1st Sgt. Adam McCamant, said, “On average, recruiters will work with applicants for about 60 days before they meet Army standards…. As long as an applicant continues to show a desire to enlist, they’ll work with him.”
Another recruiter, Staff Sgt. Jesse Wallace, told the paper, “I think we just want to show people that the military is a viable option. We don’t want it to be seen as a last resort.”
However, finding quality recruits is a growing concern. In June, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville testified before Congress that only 23 percent of Americans ages 17-24 are qualified to serve without a waiver to join, down from 29 percent in recent years.
The difficulty in recruiting increased with the Biden administration’s demands of mandatory Covid vaccinations. As we reported earlier, the military vaccine mandate is currently being challenged as unlawful by ranking military officers. The requirement certainly is cause for concern for potential recruits, especially those who want to remain unvaccinated. Plus, the loss of active-duty military men and women to early retirement and not reenlisting due to the mandate is compounding the problem of maintaining military personnel numbers.
Then you have the controversial Marxist woke policies being rapidly instituted by the Department of Defense with their mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training. These policies clearly go against the Army’s planned focus on “quality over quantity.”
As we also reported earlier:
The Army recently ran anime lesbian wedding ads, which is pushing away the recruits it needs, young patriotic men and women from traditional backgrounds. Then you have the mandatory transgender pronoun training presentation “Policy on the Military Service of Transgender Persons and Persons with Gender Dysphoria,” which is part of a larger push by the Biden administration to make the military more welcoming to transgender people. “The Army allows transgender soldiers to serve openly,” states the presentation, which is tailored for Army commanders and leaders. “An otherwise qualified soldier shall not be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity.”
While Gen. Brunson remains optimistic about the Army’s recruitment practices, it is obvious that the problem with enlistment numbers emanates from poor leadership by the commander in chief.
Even with the numerous obstacles in recruitment being addressed, the major obstacle and true enemy to our military is, sadly, our own government led by Biden and his woke allies.