Amid vaccine mandates, complaints of “woke” policies and indoctrination, and a tight jobs market, the Army fell 25% short of its recruitment goal this year, about 15,000 soldiers, the Associated Press reported.
The shortfall actually is worse, because the original target of 485,000 active-duty soldiers was cut by 12,000 in April and further reduced later to 466,000.
The AP said, “the worsening problem stirs debate about whether America’s fighting force should be restructured or reduced in size if the services can’t recruit enough, and could also put added pressure on the National Guard and Reserve to help meet mission requirements.”
Meanwhile, as Breitbart News reported in July, Army training instructs soldiers to shower with transgender members of the opposite sex, even if they have not undergone a surgical transition. In February, the Army began discharging soldiers who refused to be vaccinated with the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, despite the fact the shots have proven to be ineffective in stopping infection and transmission of the disease. In addition, Department of Defense data indicate a massive spike in serious injuries and illnesses among military personnel coincided with the vaccine rollout in 2021.
The AP said it’s “unclear how much the debate over the COVID-19 vaccine is playing in the recruiting struggles.” To date, the Army has discharged more than 1,700 soldiers for refusing the vaccine.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement to the Associated Press that in the Army’s “most challenging recruiting year since the start of the all-volunteer force, we will only achieve 75% of our fiscal year 22 recruiting goal.”
Wormuth insisted the Army “will maintain its readiness and meet all our national security requirements.”
“If recruiting challenges to persist, we will draw on the Guard and Reserve to augment active-duty forces, and may need to trim our force structure,” she said.
The AP said military leaders have tried to draw recruits through increased enlistment bonuses and other programs. But they say it has become more difficult to compete with private industry in the tight labor market. Companies like Mcdonald’s are attracting workers with tuition benefits and other increased perks that have military service attractive.
The Army also blames the shutting down of recruiters’ access to schools, public events, fairs, and other youth organizations due to the pandemic.
Further, only an estimated 23% of young people can meet the military’s fitness, education, and moral requirements.
The AP also noted that “the patriotism that fueled the rush to military service in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks has dimmed.”
“Some may look around and see no more wars and terrorists to fight so they look elsewhere,” the wire service said. “And others see lucrative hiring campaigns by private industry and know the salaries will be better than military pay, and they will be less likely to end up wounded or killed in those jobs.”