". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Military Continues to Drop Standards to Reach Recruitment Goals

February 14, 2024

The military has been struggling to meet recruitment goals since COVID. Reportedly, in 2023, the Air Force fell roughly 2,700 airmen short, the Army was 15,000 soldiers short, the Navy missed their goal by over 7,450 sailors, and the Coast Guard by about 4,800. The military as a whole missed their recruitment target by 41,000 recruits.

Many suspect the rate of recruitment slowed down when certain branches of the military prioritized woke ideology over military readiness. Experts believe it’s the same with the airline industry, as they prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals over safety. As a result, several Boeing planes have made emergency landings, and one door flew off an aircraft mid-flight. As The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh said, “Once you start emphasizing anything other than merit, skill, and competence in the hiring process, bad things will follow.” This is the case with aviation, but may soon be the case with the military, too.

In a desperate attempt to make up for missing recruits, the military has slashed standards. They’ve already received pushback for trying to reinstate officers who were kicked out for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. And last month, more than 10,000 Army soldiers were promoted despite not completing the required military training.

One of the most criticized branches, the Navy, recently decided to enlist individuals who did not complete their high school education. The only mandate is that these potential hires pass the Armed Services Qualification Test with a score of at least 50 out of 99. However, enlisting sailors without diplomas hasn’t been attempted since the year 2000.

Navy Vice Admiral Rick Cheeseman told the Associated Press, “We get thousands of people into our recruiting stations every year that want to join the Navy but do not have an education credential. And we just turn them away.” Especially since some services are concerned that recruits with no education credentials “may be more likely” to drop out of boot camp, AP noted. And yet, in an interview with Military.com, he claimed things are “different” than before, and “education credential may not be the front and center thing that predicts your success in the Navy.”

Additionally, he said that he hopes the 2,442 who recently walked in a Navy recruitment station without formal education credentials get “phone calls over the weekend, and they’re scheduled to take tests.”

In another recent drop of standards, recruits who arrive at boot camp “with detectable amounts of marijuana in their system” are no longer sent home. Rear Admiral James Waters said this decision was partly a reflection “of where legislation is in society.” Even though “[we] don’t do drugs in the military,” he added that they “recognize that many states have legalized marijuana.”

In response to these changes and the criticism they have received, Cheeseman contended, “My argument for accepting [the risks] is that we have capacity of boot camp. We’re not filling the seats. So I’m willing to take a risk.”

In a further attempt to amp recruits, the Air Force hopes to bring at least 1,000 retired officers back into service through the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program (VRRAD). According to The Washington Times, those eligible to return “retired as captains through lieutenant colonels and enlisted troops who retired as staff sergeants through senior master sergeant,” and they must be younger than 58 and “medically qualified for active duty.”

Lt. General (Ret.) William G. Boykin, Family Research Council’s executive vice president, shared with The Washington Stand, “It has recently been revealed that the military has not been able to meet their recruitment goals with previous recruiting standards, so the standards are being changed.” To which he said, “It’s high time that the military find some leaders that believe in readiness and know how to achieve it. Until that occurs, our military will continue to struggle.”

He continued, “The U.S. military needs to divorce itself from the political scene and focus its efforts on what it takes to prepare young Americans to go to war and to be able to win once they get there.”

Even though the current direction of the military is far from ideal, Boykin concluded, “[W]ith the help of some seasoned military officers and non-commissioned officers, America could change this paradigm before the next war.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.