Recruiting shortfalls linked to teaching of history, woke policies, etc.

Recruiting shortfalls linked to teaching of history, woke policies, etc.

Recruiting shortfalls linked to teaching of history, woke policies, etc.

What's at the root of the military recruitment challenge among eligible Americans? National security experts are pointing to drug use, mental health problems, wokeness – and how American history is being taught in government schools.

It's not a new trend. Almost 10 years ago, a report by the National Assessment of Education Progress showed just 18% of American high school kids knew their way around a history book. In 2020, a CBS news story revealed that how history is taught in high schools varies greatly from state to state.

Year upon year of less emphasis on history, on how the Founding Fathers valued country above self, has come home to roost in the form of armed forces recruiting, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (USA-Ret.) said on Washington Watch last week.

It's been 50 years since the government ditched the draft and opted instead for an all-volunteer force to protect the country – which was "a great idea," said the general.

Boykin, Jerry (FRC) Boykin

"[By going all-volunteer] you were guaranteed that the people coming in wanted to be there. That was not the case when we had the draft. We were bringing in people who did not necessarily want to be in the military," Boykin told show host Joseph Backholm.

In 1973, veterans of World War II were in greater supply; and in America, feelings of patriotism ran much higher. But times have changed: a Statista.com poll last week found that fewer than 40% of respondents said they were "extremely" proud to be an American.

3 out of 4 simply wouldn't qualify

"Physical fitness sometimes is optional in elementary school and high schools – and all of that contributes to whether potential recruits are fit enough to meet the rigors of military life."

Elaine Donnelly, president
Center for Military Readiness

Last fall a study released by The Pentagon questioned whether an all-volunteer armed forces is still a good thing. It found that 77% of young Americans would not qualify for military service because of weight issues, drug use, or other physical and mental health problems.

Boykin sees a link between the absence of history in schools and the present condition. "I think all the polls show that the Zen generation, especially, just does not see service in their military to support their country as imperative – and that's a very sad thing," he said.

Generation Z members are described as the first fully global generation – young, ethnically diverse and connected across continents by social media. Of note, they are also the largest generation in American history, comprising 27% of the U.S. population.

"In large measure we have taken history out of the public schools and out of the universities. As a result, when we talk about American history [those students] have no idea what this country is, the price that's been paid for this country, who our Founding Fathers were, or what our military has done around the world for nations that, in some cases, we don't even hear about," Boykin said.

The Pentagon report and Boykin's theories help explain the difficulties all branches of U.S. military face in meeting recruiting goals. The Army missed its projected goals by 25% in 2022. Numbers for other branches were down too.

Students 'denied right' to be proud of America

Boykin blames the schools, not the students.

"They have been denied the right to actually be proud to be Americans," he said, "because they don't know what America has done for the world. We have done more for the world than any other nation in history. They are not aware of that, and that's a very difficult thing for me to accept."

Younger Americans' decrease in patriotism and an interest to serve in the military did not simply happen, according to the retired general. It's a coordinated effort, Boykin said, by socialists who are succeeding in tearing down the nation from within.

"That Marxist movement in America … it's real, and you can't deny it anymore. The Marxist movement has done everything they can to denigrate this nation," he argued.

The global connection for Generation Z – combined with the lack of their own nation's history being taught in schools – has been fuel for the fire, Boykin said.

"You ask yourself, 'Where do these young people get their information?' They get it on social media. You look at social media, and there's nothing but criticism of America. Everything that we've ever done has been hidden from the public, especially from Generation Z," he said.

If the American story hasn't been omitted altogether, it's been edited in such a way that all perspective has been removed, Boykin said.

Woke policies having negative impact on recruiting

Boykin is convinced much of the military's recruitment struggle is self-inflicted. While the Pentagon study indicated 77% would fail to quality in 2023, the number was 71% in 2014. He contends the woke policies enacted by the administration of President Joe Biden have taken a growing problem and made it worse.

"There's a big job market out there, but that's not the reason they're not coming in," Boykin said. "They are hearing the horror stories of what's happening in the military – that these soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are being forced to sit in a classroom and have someone tell them that 'All of you white guys are oppressors, and all of you black guys are the ones they've oppressed throughout our history.'"

Donnelly, Elaine Donnelly

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, also argues that woke policies are discouraging even pro-military families from pointing their children toward a military career.

"When [they] see military leaders actually using drag queen influencers to try to recruit people for the Navy; or when they see military women being told that if a biological male wants to use the showers and the private living areas of women, that's okay and [just] to put up with that – why would they encourage their daughters to join? These issues trouble people," Donnelly emphasizes.

And General Boykin contends the military's handling of the COVID-19 vaccine created its own set of problems.

"You throw into that the vaccination that most of them didn't want to take. Those who wanted to take it were able, but those who didn't want to take it were bullied," he emphasizes. "Over 8,000 people were put out of the military.

"You think that might impact our recruiting when they get out and tell all their buddies, 'Don't go into the military. They will do these things to you.'"

We have a sick society

Military analyst Kirk Lippold says the ongoing recruiting crisis in the armed forces is indicative of how far American society has degraded.

Lippold, Kirk (Cmdr, USN-Ret.) Lippold

"It's degraded because of drug use; it's degraded because of prescriptions that we are giving our young children because their parents won't teach them to focus and instead claim they have ADHD," Lippold tells AFN. "It's because of their morals and the way they behave and carry themselves. It is the lack of the strength of character to do what's right.

"So, consequently when 77% can't serve, that is indicative of the ills of a society."

If recruiting goals continue to fall short, he continues, a future president may have to make some tough decisions. "Do we put some type of mandatory service on society, or do we start paying these service members what they may need to be able to go forward and risk their lives? Or do we somehow incentivize that service?"

Lippold, who commanded the USS Cole when it was attacked by terrorists in 2000, suggests incentives could include a tax-free retirement and/or a guaranteed free college education.