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Military Recruitment Crisis Underway as Biden Admin Continues Emphasis on Wokeness, Vaccine Mandates

Military Recruitment Crisis Underway as Biden Admin Continues Emphasis on Wokeness, Vaccine Mandates

“Defense Department officials have been sounding the alarm for months: the military is going to miss its enlisted recruiting goals this year, and the Army may be in the worst spot of any of the services.” – Army Times

Usually, when there is a crisis (whether perceived or real) in America, the mainstream media will jump right on it, filing umpteen evening news reports and newspaper articles in hopes of ensuring that at some point, their readers and viewers will eventually come around to caring and getting outraged enough to Do Something™.

But in the case of the very real military recruitment crisis that is currently underway in this country, we see very little from Big Media outside of the obligatory pieces noting how 2022 recruiting goals across all military branches are way down, with NBC News recently reporting on how the numbers “show both a record low percentage of young Americans eligible to serve and an even tinier fraction willing to consider it.”

Per the Army Times, the hardest hit among the branches is the U.S. Army, where standards are being relaxed/lowered in hopes of enticing new recruits to join:

Defense Department officials have been sounding the alarm for months: the military is going to miss its enlisted recruiting goals this year, and the Army may be in the worst spot of any of the services.

As of late June, according to an Army spokesperson, the Army had only hit 40% of its recruiting goal of 55,400 new soldiers for fiscal year 2022. The reasons contributing to plunging recruitment are complex, including more detailed medical screenings, a shrinking proportion of Americans eligible to serve, poor marketing practices, low civilian unemployment and more. In the face of the challenge, the service is pulling out nearly all the stops to ensure the ranks are filled.

Among the “stops” being pulled out:

As to what’s causing the recruitment crisis, the Army Times primarily cited economic and medical factors, including fitness issues and the military’s COVID vaccine mandate, which was put in place by President Biden.

Heritage noted earlier this year that “Since 2014, the military has been reporting that because of obesity, adverse criminal history, physical problems, drug use, or lack of a high school degree, only 29% of Americans qualify to join the military without a waiver.”

Professor Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, writing in the New York Post, suggested other factors as a serious cause for concern as well, including the growing emphasis on wokeness and political correctness:

One is that the new “woke” Army isn’t all that appealing to the kinds of people who traditionally join the military.

As Jeff Groom writes in Spectator World, the Army has waged a culture war, and it’s a quagmire: “Imagine you are an eighteen-year-old, white, Christian male in Georgia with a family history of military service. As you progressed through your teen years, you watched Confederate statues being torn down and military bases being renamed, endless media and elitist demonization of your culture as racist and deplorable and backwards, and military and civilian leadership that thinks diversity and inclusion (i.e. fewer white men) is best thing since sliced bread. Would you volunteer? Identity politics works both ways.”

Traditional masculinity is something today’s woke military seems hostile to, but it’s always been the driving force in encouraging people to enlist. A volunteer army needs volunteers, and why exactly would a traditional white male want to volunteer anymore? Note that combat soldiers disproportionately come from the South and face the greatest degree of demonization.

Remember, too, the demoralization of the U.S. military after Biden’s disastrous and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal debacle:

The worst part is this: The military leadership has broken faith with the troops.


Thousands of Americans, along with Afghan allies, were left behind while US troops were ordered to engage in an overnight skedaddle from Bagram Air Base and a humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Reports at the time revealed outright rage among the troops at how they were used. A group of retired senior military officers called for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to resign. Service members openly mocked Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

Add to all of this the belief among a majority of active-duty service members that the military has become overly politicized, and it’s no wonder that not only is recruitment down but that civilian confidence in the military is way down.

In a piece on the erosion of the “World’s Greatest Military,” Victor Davis Hanson summed things up accordingly:

Fairly or not, the perception among the public and our enemies is that the U.S. military has become a political entity with an agenda that transcends defending the U.S. and its interests.

Its perceived main agenda by half the country is progressive social justice, administered top-down from a cadre of elites who can implement controversial policies through the chain of command without the messy work of the Congress—to the delight of the Pentagon’s newfound sunshine friends on the woke Left.

Such military social engineers unfortunately appear to share contempt for a large group of Americans who voted for a president they despised. And this is a fact warmly welcomed by our worst enemies abroad.

How can the American people fight it? One way is by continuing to raise awareness of how woke ideology seeps its way into American institutions, which is why you should bookmark Legal Insurrection’s Military Service Academies database. It tracks “military service academies [that] have taught or introduced some form of critical race theory or ‘anti-racism’ training on future military leaders.”

Fox News Digital did a nice write-up earlier this week on the site’s rollout, complete with an interview with Professor Jacobson. You can check it out here.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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E Howard Hunt | July 28, 2022 at 7:27 am

This Tran’s Army is not going to inspire many.

Eventually a politicized military will cease to concern it self with ‘lawful orders’ and fire on their own people if so ordered.

We’re gonna go back to the time-tested imperial strategy of pressing/tricking poor people and brutally enforcing discipline.

We’re hearing about recruitment problems, but what about retention? How many current service members are saying “Screw it. I’m not re-enlisting”?

A few recruiting basics for context. Less than 1% of the US public serve or have ever served. Roughly 2/3 of the enlistment age population doesn’t meet the very low bar to be able to serve; HS or GED, arrest record, drug use, mental health, obesity.

The 1/3 remaining eligible to to enlist is normally drawn about 70% rural /red State and 30% urban / blue State. About 45% of each year’s intake of recruits come from families with a strong history of military service, most of whom are from rural/red States/areas.

This is why the numbers are down and the recruiting mission is failing. The once dependable source of recruits has dried up to an extent based on ideological differences and realization that they are a poor cultural fit for the current cultural climate of the military. Until that changes I predict that recruiting will remain elusive.

Kids looking for a way out or up from a bad environment by trading a one term enlistment contract for job skills and/or the GI Bill will continue to enlist with far less drop off. The recruits from traditional military families will lag. This will also show in retention numbers which are are more important. The recruits from military families tend to stay for a 20+ year career at much higher rates.

If / when retention drops as well we lose the training costs and experienced personnel that no recruit can replace in the short term. It takes about 12 years to be become worth of promotion to E7 (Platoon SGT or Chief) unless one is truly outstanding then 7/8 years is the practical minimum. Don’t retain the young E5 hot shot stud due to culture war BS and we have less effective NCO Corps. Same with retention of Company grade officers, our future crop of Field grade officers are of lesser quality.

Wade Hampton | July 28, 2022 at 8:41 am

One of the senior CSMs advised my son, NOT to join due to all the “wokeness” and political BS.

For the first time in my entire life, I now suggest to young people that joining the military is a terrible idea. It used to be that for those who didn’t really know what they wanted, that it gave them a few years to figure it out while learning other useful skills, but that is now all gone.

We need to reduce the size and cost of the military along with every other part of the government.

    CommoChief in reply to geronl. | July 28, 2022 at 10:01 am

    Yes and no.

    IMO the Marine Corps is right sized as is the AF. The Army should be reduced to roughly 380K active end strength from roughly 465K. Shift more support assets for Division and above to Reserve BNs while adding a 4th Infranty or Armor BN from the NG to every AD maneuver BDE. That allows for far better oversight and management of NG and Reserve capabilities while saving money.

    The Navy needs to expand. More frigates and destroyers grouped into forward deployed squadrons for ‘show the Flag’ exercises to actual gun boat diplomacy. Perhaps build out a smaller class of carrier for VTOL aircraft such as the FR or UK use and center the formation on them. They cost less, have decent punch, adequate survivability v more costly Cruisers and our current class of Carriers. More submarine in service as well. Even pulling out mothballed LA Class would add to our punch.

    We have two oceans and large gulf as buffers and it makes sense to rely upon them as a stand off but only if we control the Oceans and the airspace above them.

    taurus the judge in reply to geronl. | July 28, 2022 at 10:02 am

    No, that’s a circular argument which is fundamentally and fatally flawed in every way that could lead to defeat and destruction by an enemy or combination of enemies.

    The “size” of the military has to be the total threat plus about 25% to meet global objectives ( assuming at a minimum a 2 front war plus satellite conflicts) and that’s everything from the warfighter back to the supply depot in a 24/7/365 scenario

    (The days of “ramping up” are simply no more and with our current industrial/supply chain/material issues- we may not be able to ramp up even if time allowed.)

    Cost is a different animal and requires a great deal of discussion and priority but there is are a lot of areas where some costs could be certainly curtailed but there are many more that are deficit so the best case is better allocations of dollars based on legitimate WARFIGHTING needs and cut out all wokeness.

We’re missing a factor I think needs to be considered. Who wants to join a military that never wins?

Imagine yourself a 17 year old high school senior a couple years ago, seriously considering joining the US Army. Then you see a burst of news reports from the disgraceful (and horribly organized) retreat from Afghanistan, including the abandonment of Americans and American friends in that country.

You’re angry at the stupidity and dishonor of that. Why would you then join up?

    taurus the judge in reply to irv. | July 28, 2022 at 10:07 am

    That’s not exactly right in context.

    I joined up immediately after Nam under Carter to an army that was both “demoralized” and desiccated by deprivation of almost everything required to fight a war.

    People do realize the military didn’t “lose” these engagements- politicians did.

    That’s a distinction with a difference we in uniform know and realize. Its not the factor civilians think it is.

    That being said- here is a new one that “could” be.

    That’s abandoning the military under fire and punishing us for political reasons. That could ( and should) have a detrimental effect on enlistment.

      henrybowman in reply to taurus the judge. | July 31, 2022 at 1:43 am

      “People do realize the military didn’t “lose” these engagements- politicians did.”

      That just begs the question.
      Who wants to serve in a military that always has its engagements “thrown” by the refs?

    Whitewall in reply to irv. | July 28, 2022 at 10:10 am

    You can blame that on poor quality civilian leadership over the last 25 years or so.

The Marxist junta in Washington does not want a military capable of defeating the PLA.

They want a military capable of emulating it.

nordic prince | July 28, 2022 at 12:09 pm

My daughter is in the Army NG, and all the stuff going on just makes me sick. She signed up while Trump was in office, and had we anticipated this turn of events with the disaster clown Biden, we certainly would have counseled her differently.

Ok, I’ll chime in on this one as a retired Flight Engineer and about retired civil servant. These issues in the military has been going on much longer than the Unkle Joe clown show, all through Trump’s era, all through Obamaphone’s era, all through Bush’s era. It also has been bleeding over into civil service a great deal, with the “You have a penis and you are guilty” sexual harassment training, the “You are white and it’s all your fault” D.I.E. (diversity, inclusion and equity) training. I watched (forced) Gen Brown AF chief of staff, a black man with 4 STARS sitting on his shoulder whine about how bad it was to be a black man in the AF, on the verge of crying because what happened to St. George Floyd XII. He had the gall to lecture ME and others from a position of emotion because of race. Then the WOKE BS creeping in as well, it was very unpleasant in my last unit because we had a few active duty and the 1st Shirt was post-op he from a she, and there were others in the unit that knew her prior to the “modification” and all the dirt as well from the dorm life in Korea that they all had first hand knowledge of. Not fun.
Then the vaxx mandate. I had to deal with the military health system on Okinawa concerning the vaxx mandate BS. I had a Lt. Commander tell me to my face that if I caught COVID and ended up in the hospital, I would be put on a ventilator and redvesmir and die an early death. He had orders from Naval command not to give out exemptions for the VAXX unless you already had the vaxx and had issues with it. I’m 100% P&T with the VA from an anthrax injury in 1999, and I have a genetic disease that is incompatible with the vaxx so I will never take it. They did not care. The Chaplin’s office? Good luck with that. I was threatened with being FIRED and abandoned in Japan with no way home if I did not comply with the mandate. Luckily I was able to leave early after fighting them tooth and nail over it.
I have NO sympathy for the DOD for the poor recruitment issues, they made their bed now they can sleep in it. The military AND civil service is nothing more than a grifter’s and wokeism’s paradise right now and is toxic to the core. It boils down to THEY DO NOT CARE and will burn it all down no matter the cost.

My opinion is they want to force out conservatives and try and bring in Leftists, Intersectionaly groups. Agree t hey want American military to be equal to other world armies, no better or stronger.

Young men still want to serve for the defense of the United States and betterment of themselves.

What they don’t want to do is sign up for a progressive crusade for secular leftism and kill lots of Muslim tribesmen to force them to adopt progressivism instead of Islam.

We could either give the military a massive budget increase to pay leftists to replace conservatives who aren’t enlisting or are leaving/being purged or we could actively work to stop the ideological purge and rot.

We could solve the recruitment crisis easily, either the way the left wants (more budget so the right sort according to them enlist) or by taking the armed forces away from crusading and back to defending the United States and remove the wokeness.

Subotai Bahadur | July 28, 2022 at 8:23 pm

My dad got his US citizenship as a front line infantryman in WW-II. I wanted a career as a Navy officer, but physical problems would not let me join. So I did a career as a cop. My son did not have the same career drive. I have two grandsons, and there is no way I would counsel them to enlist when they are old enough. I do not want them turning guns on Americans for the benefit of the Democrat party.

Subotai Bahadur

Eddie Coyle | July 29, 2022 at 2:40 pm

I only hope they drive out the woke nonsense, but frankly the military was the last bastion I expected to fall, and it has, starting with the overreaction to Tailhook. The Covid requirement is silly, always was. They could drop that which would help a bit. Perhaps they could accept the obese, minor criminals and dropouts, and put them through a 6 month, unpaid, repair shop where they get in shape, get a GED, and learn some discipline. THEN they go to boot camp.