America is facing a "once in a generation military recruitment crisis" due to the Pentagon’s focus on woke priorities that are dividing the nation’s fighting force and leaving it unprepared for a conflict with China, an expert panel of military veterans warned Congress on Tuesday.
"Our military is facing the worst recruitment challenge since the advent of the all-volunteer force following the Vietnam war," Jeremy Hunt, a former Army captain and chairman of the Veterans on Duty advocacy group, told Congress during a hearing on military readiness. "We stand amid a once-in-a-generation military recruitment crisis."
At the end of last year, the Army fell a historic 15,000 soldiers short of its recruitment goal, missing its target by 25 percent. The Air Force, Navy, and Marines also fell short of their recruitment goals last year. This is the direct product of the Biden administration’s decision to prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training in the military, Hunt and other veterans told Congress.
In the face of these shortfalls, the Biden administration has implemented mandatory Critical Race Theory training and funded a multimillion-dollar Pentagon-wide DEI bureaucracy that focuses on the woke cultural priorities championed by the far left. Some military members, for instance, are now forced to complete "11-week resident DEI training classes," Hunt told the House Oversight Committee. Soldiers also are trained on how to use correct pronouns and when to offer their fellow service members sex change operations.
"As America watches the Chinese military grow in power and the largest land war in Europe since the Second World War unfold, we are given the impression that our military serves other masters beyond our national defense," Hunt said, warning that the "politicization of our military" is killing recruitment efforts.
The Defense Department’s focus on inclusion programs and woke culture has "left our military unfocused, untrained, unmanned, and unprepared for combat," Hunt said.
The Pentagon has pumped around $114 million into DEI programs—a 30 percent increase from last year, according to Brent Sadler, a Navy veteran and senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense. The "corrosive impact" of these programs has sent America’s faith in the military plummeting.
"Confidence in the military has also hit new lows," Sadler said, noting that in 2019 there was an 11.6 percent drop in the number of veterans recommending their family members join the military.
"The perception today is of a military increasingly captured by a political agenda, leaving some to forego military service," Sadler said. "The nation is weaker for this."
Meaghan Mobbs, a West Point graduate who serves as a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, also told lawmakers that she "would not recommend military service" to her family members due to the Pentagon’s focus on wokeness.
Just 9 percent of the nation’s youth expressed a desire to serve in the military, according to figures cited by Mobbs.
"This is a grave national security threat," she said, adding that the abundance of DEI programs "do not build teams, they destroy them."
The Biden administration’s 2021 executive order embedding DEI programs in all federal agencies has had a particularly corrosive impact on the military, according to Mobbs, who noted that China’s military focuses only on lethality.
"There is no equity for combat," she said.
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R., Wis.), chair of the House Oversight’s subcommittee on national security, the border, and foreign affairs blamed the Biden administration for damaging the military’s credibility.
"The administration seems to be willfully blinded by how its progressive ideals are affecting military readiness and recruitment," Grothman said. "The Biden Department of Defense has politicized the U.S. military and harmed its ability to quickly respond to threats to our nation."
As recruitment plummets, Grothman said, "the Biden administration is more focused on how cadets at military academies use correct pronouns rather than learn how to lead."