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Up Close and Personnel, the Military in Crisis


The next president is inheriting plenty of messes — but the military has to be one of the worst. Morale is in the (gender-free) toilet, suicides and sexual assaults have never been higher, readiness and retention are in the basement, and our equipment is falling apart. Making matters worse, this president’s radical shift in priorities is already having a devastating effect on the next generation of service members. And now, on the brink of a personnel crisis, the Defense Department is scrambling to stop the bleeding.

With more troops running for the exits, Secretary Ash Carter is desperate for a quick fix. His latest attempt is the creation of a DOD “Speaker’s Bureau,” which he hopes will boost the military’s appeal in a nation increasingly wary of serving in Obama’s PC army. The goal of the bureau is to send senior leaders on the road to “educate key audiences” on the benefits of joining the military. “Building the Force of the Future isn’t going to happen overnight,” Carter cautioned. “It’s going to be a generational effort, and this is just the beginning, because our goal is to address challenges and seize opportunities that have arisen over years and decades, and we have to sustain and build on this over the years and decades ahead as well… We won’t be selling the newest phones or trying to get you signed up for the newest credit card. Ultimately, what we’re selling is service and mission…”

Unfortunately for Carter, the mission of Obama’s military hardly resembles the proud tradition embraced by decades of brave men and women. After eight years of social engineering, the cause of these recruitment woes is hardly a mystery. As FRC’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.) pointed out, so many people were trying to join the military before Barack Obama became president that the branches had to institute a delayed entry system. That’s all changed now, as the Army struggles to meet its recruitment goals. “What has happened since 2008 are the radical programs that have been implemented by this administration — to include the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ women in front-line units, transgender [policies], and budget cuts. And by the way, if you look at the statistics for the other services, I can assure you they are in a similar kind of condition [as the Army, which hit World War II lows in 2015].”

The reality is, trotting out the White House’s propaganda won’t change the underlying problem — which is that our commander-in-chief is too obsessed with advancing the culture war to fight the real ones. If Defense officials want to boost recruitment, they don’t need a speakers’ bureau. They need a return to the warrior ethos. Our leaders are too focused on drafting our daughters, funding gender reassignment surgery, and cracking down on religious liberty to inspire people to join a transcendent cause like serving their nation. And until that changes, the shortfall of troops won’t either.


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