On the 50th anniversary of having an all-volunteer U.S. military, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Fort Meade, Maryland to administer the military oath of office to 85 recruits. Shaking each recruit’s hand and sharing words, Secretary Austin praised the brave young men and women for joining the military out of their own conviction to defend, protect, and serve their country.
Secretary Austin shared his gratitude to the brave recruits who have made the selfless and commendable decision to serve their country. At the ceremony on Wednesday, Secretary Austin told the recruits just before they headed off to their training, “We rely on you, our democracy relies on you, and your country relies on you.”
Secretary Austin’s visit comes amid a recruiting crisis facing the U.S. military, which is leaving different branches short of meeting their recruitment goal. Fox News reports, “the Army, Air Force and Navy are on track to miss recruiting goals this year. The U.S. military has typically met annual recruitment goals since 1973. The U.S. Army missed its recruiting goals by 25% last year.”
A recent study by the Pentagon has revealed that one of the major reasons the military is finding it hard to recruit members is due to the poor health of eligible Americans. The study shows that 77% of young Americans would not qualify for service without a waiver because of being overweight, drug use, and other physical as well as mental health issues. Additional factors contributing to a decline in military recruitment are the number of high schoolers going straight to college, and the military going “woke,” which is deterring some from entering the force.
Military recruits are mostly made up of brave young men and women who are from military families. These recruits typically make up 80% of U.S. Army recruits, according to Fox News, but now families are not encouraging their children to join.
America relies on a strong military, and losing a large portion of its strength is cause for concern. While many brave Americans are still rising to the call to serve their country, the decline in those willing to do so is suggesting that America may be at a critical juncture.