In 2022, the Army fell short of its recruitment target by around 15,000 new soldiers, falling 25% shy of its target at a time when all of the military were having difficulty reaching their goals.
Military recruiters have relied on tried-and-true explanations for the difficulties, such as low unemployment and a shortage of candidates meeting the required requirements in terms of appearance, education, and behavior. The competition from the commercial sector and the decreasing number of young Americans who are both competent and interested in serving in the military are ongoing issues, according to experts and senior military officers. They lack information, though, on why this tendency is declining and whether the nation is going through an ideological change in its views on military duty. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., is among a group of Republican senators who have frequently blamed recruiting issues on the Biden administration for seeking to construct a “woke Army,” which is one explanation that is gaining traction with veterans. “Wokeness in the military is being imposed by elected and appointed leaders in the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon who have little understanding of the purpose, character, traditions, and requirements of the institution they are trying to change,” wrote Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.