Top Army Official Can’t Say What’s Been Done To Convince Americans The Military Isn’t ‘Politicized’

Screenshot / U.S. House Armed Services Committee / Youtube

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The top Army official for personnel deflected a GOP representative’s concerns at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday that growing perceptions of military politicization among Americans have tanked recruiting.

Army surveys have found that policies in the Department of Defense that appear intended to instill a progressive ideology in the U.S. military are not a major factor contributing to the service’s historic recruiting crisis. However, after Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Jim Banks asked what the Army is doing to address perceptions of politicization, Army Assistant Secretary for Manpower & Reserve Affairs Agnes Schaefer could not provide specific steps the service has taken.

“We are demonstrating that we are being apolitical. Our policies are really centered around our servicemembers,” she said. (RELATED: Pentagon Banned From Mandating Pronouns In Compromise Defense Bill)

Schaefer did say the Army should worry about why a large number of Americans, including military veterans and conservative lawmakers, see wokeness as a major problem afflicting the U.S. military.

“I’m not sure why there’s an underlying perception that we are political. I don’t know what that is, and I think we need to dig into that more,” Schaefer told a panel of members on the committee focused on military personnel.

The Army has consistently maintained that wokeness, such as the military’s promotion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies, are not a concern for recruiting.

“Would you disagree that wokeness is a top recruiting issue for the Army?” Banks asked.

“If people have that perception then we need to address it. The data that we have seen indicates that it’s not one of the top concerns,” Schaefer responded.

Potential recruits cited fear of mental or physical injury as major barriers to joining the Army in a survey conducted in February and shared partially with the Associated Press. Respondents most often selected “I’d be putting the rest of my life on hold” as a barrier to service, followed by concerns over discrimination and failed leadership.

“The Army is placing too much emphasis on ‘wokeness'” placed number 9 out of 16 possible reasons, putting that as the top concern just 5% of the time.

“I’m worried about all of those barriers that they cite,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer brought up the growing lack of familiarity with the Army among young people as another barrier, one commonly discussed by top service officials.

Banks leaned on a poll of 300 military veterans conducted in September, where the “woke agenda” came in as the third highest issue facing the U.S. military.

Nearly three quarters of respondents also said that “recently the U.S. military has become too political with regard to things like racial equity” and LGBTQ issues. A majority agreed that U.S. military leadership support on controversial social issues, such as transgenderism, is negatively impacting recruitment and agreed that the Biden administration is pushing liberal policies on the military.

The On Message polling firm conducted the survey for the American Principles Project.

In a recent Reagan National Defense Survey, most respondents cited possible exposure to danger as a reason not to join the military. Concerns over politicization came in third.

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