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The most dangerous recession might not be economic

by Mahmmod Shar

Our enemies will take note as the size and capabilities of US military shrinking

OPINION By Rep. Jack Bergman

If you turn on your television and radio, or log onto any social media platform you’ll likely hear talking heads offering opinions on our country’s inflation and economic recession problems. This is a very grave threat to the well-being of Americans, induced by a bloated government and excessive government spending. 

However, one thing noticeably absent from the national discussions is perhaps the most dire kind of recession – a recession of recruitment for our military.

Long-term, the failure of our Armed Forces to meet their recruiting objectives across all branches could pose far worse consequences for the United States than the sluggish economy. During testimony on March 29, 2023, Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, stated, “The Air Force is projected to fall below [fiscal year 2023] active duty recruiting goals by roughly 4,100.” 

This loss comes as the first failure to meet active-duty recruitment projections since 1999.

Meanwhile, the Army missed their recruiting goal in 2022 by 15,000 recruits. The Navy also fell short of their benchmarks for active duty and Reserve officer recruitment. The Marine Corps commandant, Gen. David Berger, wrote in the Naval Institute’s Proceedings, “The Marine Corps is struggling to recruit talented young Americans in a competitive economy and from a society increasingly distant from the military.” 

He isn’t wrong. 

There are plenty of factors we can point to in explaining this phenomenon of faltering recruitment – from pay rate and physical eligibility to politicization and woke policies that hamper readiness and retention, driving out many who otherwise wish to serve our nation. A recent poll found that only 38% of Americans say patriotism is important to them. This certainly plays a part in our military recruitment woes. 

As a retired Marine, a member of Congress and a grandpa, I can see the writing on the wall – and it’s alarming. 

At a time when adversaries such as Iran, China and Russia are becoming increasingly emboldened, we can’t afford the dwindling numbers of those willing to step up in defense of our Constitution, our values and our land. In recent years, there has been an undeniable correlation between the recruitment recession and the politicization and DEI-obsessed “leadership” at the Pentagon.

On top of the risks and concerns that come naturally with service to our nation, telling our men and women they are inherently racist and divided doesn’t exactly encourage them to work together in defense of our country.

Let me be clear, our men and women in our military are not a social experiment. Their objective is not to play out some ideologue’s thesis on gender, race or a hot button issue du jour. Their objective is readiness and strength in the face of danger. Nothing more and nothing less.

When decay of this nature sets in, shrinking the size and capabilities of our defenses, our enemies will take note – and they have already. Without a course correction, our adversaries will become even more bold in poking the American bear. 

If we don’t see a pivot in priorities for our military leadership, one that moves away from social justice experiments and climate change doctrine back to readiness and lethality, this recession will wreak unthinkable havoc on our national security.

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