A half-century after the end of the draft and the implementation of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF), has the United States Armed Forces found itself in an existential crisis?
The Pentagon recently reported all its branches of service were failing or struggling to meet recruiting requirements for the current fiscal year. The Army alone has met just 40 percent of its annual goal and there are only two months left in the fiscal year. In the beginning of 2022, the U.S. military had 1.3 million active-duty service members—over a third of which were in the Army alone—making it the third-largest military in the world, plus a National Guard and Reserve component bigger than most countries’ entire forces.
The recruiting shortfall is the latest in what’s become something of a prolonged losing streak for the military, going back to the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle last summer. After America’s second-longest war (Iraq is the longest) came to an ignominious end with the deaths of 13 service members, the military has suffered something of an image and identity crisis, battling accusations of incompetence and politicization.
On the latter, the charge largely sticks. The military is undergoing a full-blown cultural revolution, now speaking the language of the woke left and seemingly becoming more aligned with the Democratic Party; it professes non-partisanship while very openly taking sides on loaded political issues, like abortion or the death of George Floyd. That politicization seems to have sparked a backlash in the form of fewer Americans joining a once-popular institution.
Read more at The American Conservative