In today’s editorial in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, I explore the decline in military recruitment and the erosion of trust in the U.S. armed forces. I argue that factors such as DEI policies, special treatments for certain groups, and political mishandling are betraying the military’s core values and undermining its essential function: winning wars and securing the nation.
Once a beacon of American prowess, the United States military now struggles with waning recruitment and dwindling public confidence on its own shores. The once prime choice for young Americans seeking structure, discipline, and training now faces a precipitous decline in enlistment numbers.
Last year the Army, America’s largest military branch, missed its enrollment target by 25%. This year the Pentagon anticipates another lapse of about 16%. The Navy expects to fall 16% short of its 2023 goal while the Air Force expects to fall short by 37%, which would be the first time in 24 years that the Air Force missed its recruitment goal.
Appallingly, 77% of American youth between ages 17-24 are ineligible for military service, primarily due to:
- Health issues, notably an obesity rate of 21%.
- Low military entrance test scores on basic high school topics.
- Use of psychotropic prescription drugs. 13% of 12- to 17-year-olds are on Ritalin, Adderall, Prozac, Zoloft, etc. These drugs disqualify one for military service due to FDA warnings about the risk of suicidal ideation, antisocial behavior, and physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
- Criminal records.
The remaining 23% (educated youth with no health issues, drug history, or criminal records) clearly see through the façade and would rather pursue other paths than suffer the military’s aggressive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) indoctrination. DEI isn’t just a red flag; it’s a blaring siren for any conservative considering enlisting.
The Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) 2023 memorandum, “Care of Service Members Who Identify as Transgender,” highlights extensive perks for transgender service members (TSM), backed by taxpayer-funded Transgender Care Teams. The military provides:
- Breast/chest surgery (“top surgery”)
- Genital mutilation surgery (“bottom surgery”)
- Speech/voice therapy
- Cross-sex hormones
- Laser hair removal
- Voice feminization surgery
- Facial contouring
- Body contouring
- Psychological counseling
TSMs can receive a grooming and uniform standards waiver. TSMs can also receive an indefinite waiver for physical fitness standards. This waiver often becomes a de facto permanent situation with the service member renewing the exemption request every six months.
TSMs are non-deployable for up to 300 days while taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). To maintain hormonal balance, HRT is often required for life, rendering TSMs permanently non-deployable.
Given the extensive resources and waivers dedicated to transgender service members, one must question the DoD’s priorities. Is the mission to support those risking their lives and deploying in the name of national security? Or a platform for facilitating sex change operations, while fully qualified military members are expected to pick up the load?
The Air Force Academy has classes instructing cadets on how to use DEI language:
- Using “parents/caregivers/guardians” instead of mom/dad
- Using “partner” instead of boyfriend/girlfriend
- Never using “colorblind”, “we’re all just people”, “I don’t see color.”
- Introducing yourself with your preferred pronouns and including those in email signatures.
The Navy used to look down on the Air Force as a bunch of wussies (which they are). But the Navy has now succumbed to the same insidious trap, fully surrendering to the suffocating grasp of the DEI agenda. This is not just a change; it’s a betrayal of our core values.
According to Gallup, public confidence in the military is the lowest since 1988. Republicans, once staunch supporters, have seen their confidence erode by 23% in the last three years alone.
Much of the declining trust can be attributed to recent events: Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan (we spent 20 years there, left the Taliban $80 billion in DoD equipment, and lost 2,402 military lives for what?), our irrational involvement in Ukraine and Syria, Biden’s provoking a war with Russia and China, mandating experimental Covid vaccines on the troops, and of course the woke mandates, have all contributed to this erosion of faith.
The U.S. military’s faltering recruitment, eroding public confidence, and diversion from warfighting excellence to social experiments signify an urgent call to action. This shift undercuts the military’s ability to win wars and fulfill its primary mission. Politicians must act decisively to restore the military’s purpose, honor, and combat effectiveness, lest we lose sight of what our military once stood for, and further diminish our nation’s defense.