For the first time, the U.S. Army is offering a maximum enlistment bonus of $50,000 – up from $40,000 – to highly skilled recruits who join for six years as the service struggles to lure soldiers into certain critical jobs amid the continuing COVID restrictions imposed by the Biden administration. Major General Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, says two years of the pandemic have made it more difficult to recruit in schools and at public events, and the competition for quality workers has intensified as young people weigh their options.
Bob Maginnis, senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, doesn't totally buy Vereen's explanation for the recruiting difficulties. The problem, argues Maginnis, is Joe Biden.
"The demographics that are typically enlisted in the Army are people who are conservative, patriotic Americans," Maginnis argues. "Now I would say a sizable part of that [group] are people who don't want to be vaccinated. So, with the Army's vaccination mandate [and] no religious exemptions, that becomes incredibly problematic … and [that's why] they have to offer a lot of money.
"I'm not even sure [with] how much money they offer that they're going to be able to get [the recruits they want]," he adds.
Maginnis also contends that a lot of people are skeptical of government.
"Conservatives typically – Trump voters, people who love America, who supported the good things that President Trump did – find now that under commander-in-chief Biden, [combined] with the extremist approach by [Secretary of Defense] Lloyd Austin [and] by the transgender issue, the military has become incredibly politically correct," says the retired Army officer.
"Those things just chase away people who are conservative, who are in many cases Christian, and who would otherwise serve – but not under this regime."
The Associated Press reports that the total amount of bonuses available hasn't been set. But the money has decreased every year since a peak of more than $485 million in 2018, after the Army failed to meet its annual recruiting goal. In the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, the Army spent more than $233 million on bonuses, with about 16,500 recruits getting an average enlistment bonus of more than $14,000.