- Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Mike Waltz of Florida are calling on the Army to release the full results of a survey on the service’s recruiting crisis, which they say cherry-picked data to fit a pre-formed agenda.
- Service leaders claimed “wokeness” did not feature heavily in survey responses, according to The Associated Press.
- “We share the goal of recruiting and retaining our nation’s best and brightest for military service,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee called on the U.S. Army to release the full results of a survey conducted to discover the reasons for the Army’s poor recruiting numbers in 2022 in a letter Wednesday.
The Army selectively disclosed results from the survey to show that the Army’s social justice policies and the COVID-19 vaccine mandate did not cause the service to fall 25% below its recruiting target for fiscal year 2022, Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Mike Waltz of Florida alleged in the letter addressed to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Service leaders claimed “wokeness” did not feature heavily in survey responses, but the Army has concealed most of the data and methodology of the study.
“We share the goal of recruiting and retaining our nation’s best and brightest for military service,” the lawmakers wrote. “In the interest of transparency, we call on the Army to publicly release its entire data set, instead of cherry-picking data to fit a narrative.” (RELATED: Here’s How The Military Dropped Its Standards In 2022 To Address A Major Recruiting Crisis)
As Army recruiting appeared to slow in the spring and summer of 2022, the service questioned a sample of 2,400 Americans between the ages of 16 and 28 to find out why young people were choosing options besides serving in the military.
According to the Army, which provided an overview of the survey results to The Associated Press, young people cited safety concerns and the stress of Army life as inhibitors to enlisting. They also said they didn’t want to steal time away from pursuing other careers.
Prospective recruits “just don’t see the Army as something that’s relevant,” Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, head of Army marketing, told the AP. “They see us as revered, but not relevant, in their lives.”
Although all branches of the armed services struggled with recruiting, the Army suffered the worst deficit relative to its goals, coming 15,000 recruits short of the 60,000 target.
One-fifth of survey respondents feared they would be “putting my life on hold” by joining, officials told the AP. Very few respondents — about 5% — referenced “wokeness” as a barrier to enlisting, officials told the AP. More concerning were reports of discrimination and harrassment against women and minority groups — roughly 13% of responses — as well as an overall loss of trust in the military.
The survey data is a tool to “assuage the concerns that some may have, whether influencers or members of Congress, about wokeness or the vaccine mandate — which is now rescinded — and show they are not, by any means, primary drivers of the recruiting challenges we’re experiencing,” Wormuth told the AP.
Game changing training@TRADOC’s diversity office is providing necessary training to effectively advise commanders in areas of #diversity and #inclusion to make the workplace better for everyone.
➡️ https://t.co/K6CvACYH3R#PeopleFirst pic.twitter.com/lq9aNl8Fz5
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) May 10, 2021
Licensing laws prevented the Army from releasing the full study conducted via a private contractor, officials told the AP.
However, interviews with former servicemembers conducted by the DCNF show that the vaccine mandate may affect people’s willingness to join a service that apparently discounted the religious convictions of servicemembers. In addition, experts say the Army’s targeted recruiting pool in 2022 already discounted or overlooked its traditional recruiting base.
“Wokeness at the [Department of Defense] has harmed recruitment, retention and morale, wasted service members’ time and taxpayer’s dollars and undermined the apolitical character of the military which is a major threat to democracy and the American way of life,” Banks said in a statement to the DCNF.
The Army did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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