Will the recruiting crisis cause reinstatement of the draft? [Opinion]
Why aren’t our young men and women joining our nation’s military? That’s a question that has the Pentagon and our Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force leaders scratching their collective heads for answers. The National Guard and Reserve Forces are also struggling to meet “end strength” as well. The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t made figures available for the Coast Guard but it’s likely struggling to recruit as well.
While a Recruiting School student, we were taught that studies show that people join the Armed Forces in this country because of these reasons: patriotism, pay, education, and or travel.
The Army is short some 57,000 people. This is a threat to our national security. To attract recruits, services are offering up to a $50,000 enlistment bonus. These bonuses very for each branch of the Armed Services.
So, what does it take to enlist? First, any applicant is prescreened. Pass the initial interview then it’s the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test. Clear this written exam and it’s on to a physical at the Military Entrance Processing Center.
Now the applicant is ready to select a career field, or he or she agrees to let the military pick his or her career. Today an applicant who is “quick-ship” ready might receive a $35,000 bonus. What’s a “quick ship”? Just what it says! If you have been prescreened, tested, and have a physical in hand you could ship out to basic training quickly.
Today only 10 percent of age eligible applicants say they would even consider a career in the military. This is a national security crisis! Of that 10 percent only, one percent will step up and serve our country.
A New York Times report estimates that “25 percent of Americans are not able to enlist.” Why? They aren’t physically fit or have background issues such as drug or criminal records.
While some deny it, each recruiter is assigned a “mission or goal” every month. Today only a few of those recruiters are making that quota. This is not for lack of effort. The facts are that the pool of those wanting to serve has shrunk.
Others believe some of the shortages of recruits is attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, a robust job market, and low wages. Congress just boosted pay for the military by 4 percent.
Today’s recruits aren’t impressed with the pay raise. They realize inflation is 11 percent, so any pay raises the military is granted by the President is short of what it takes to make ends meet.
What’s the answer to filling our military branch’s needs? Is it bigger enlistment bonuses? Is it shorter enlistments such as a two-year enlistment verses the current 4- or 6-year contract? Career field guarantees? Base of assignment preferences? Does America need a draft?
All these items should be on the table now. Americans’ national security depends largely on our military. Our military needs people to meet its mission of protecting our freedom here and around the globe.
Today our military personnel stand guard around the globe and as one young Marine said to me “Sir we are fighting for our freedoms and most Americans are at Walmart.”
- Armed Forces Recruiting Station: Shutterstock