The US Army will likely be understrength by at least 7,000 soldiers when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The Army’s number two officer made the admission to a House Armed Services Committee panel Tuesday.
The Army notified a House military personnel panel that it expects to have between 445,000 and 452,000 soldiers at the end of fiscal 2023 — a 28,000-soldier drop from their original projections, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin said, according to the New York Post.
Those numbers were already reduced earlier this year. The Army shed its recruiting goals by 15,000 and its end strength target by 12,000 in April when it realized it wouldn’t meet its overall target of 485,000.
Army Times published an investigation Monday analyzing the end strength shortfall and the Army’s efforts to address it. It found retention numbers remain near record highs — more than 57,000 troops reenlisted as of July 7, 3,000 more than the annual goal.
The recruitment difficulties come amid the Army's growing push to go woke in recent years.
In March, the US Army made the decision to reduce physical fitness standards for women and older soldiers. To score a 100 in the deadlift, men must lift almost one third more than their female counterparts. Likewise, in the two-mile run, women are given over two minutes longer than men to complete the race and achieve a 100.
The official Twitter account for US Air Force Recruiting posted a photo on June 17th of several cadets jogging while one in back held the LGBT pride flag with no American flag to be seen.
"Pride in all who serve," the post read, accompanied by a rainbow flag emoji.
Last summer, a US Army Major General was eviscerated by Jack Posobiec on Twitter after calling for people to "block and report" those they disagree with on Twitter.
Major General Patrick Donahoe posted what he called a "Public Service Announcement," telling people to "Block and report the trolls and the disinformation tinfoil hat team."
Twitter users were quick to observe that American's don't want to join a woke military.
"The results of a WOKE MILITARY," one wrote above a quote tweet of the Post article.
"If only there was an explanation for why no one wants to join the military..." wrote another," with a photo of biological male Rachel Levine, the he first openly transgender four-star officer in the nation's eight uniformed services. Levine recently advocated for medical gender transition of minors.
"The Army has not build enough gender fluid barracks," one user joked.
Army Times also attributed recruiting woes to a range of reasons including more detailed medical screenings, a shrinking proportion of Americans eligible to serve, poor marketing practices, low civilian unemployment and more.
The Army has employed some short-term fixes, including increasing retention eligibility and goals, activating new officers ahead of schedule and increased staffing to reduce a medical waiver backlog.
But long term fixes have yet to be implemented or have been killed due to concerns over lowering standards.
The Army briefly allowed applicants without a high school diploma or GED to enlist if they scored in the top 50 percent of Americans on their entry aptitude tests, but the policy was rolled back less than a week after it came out.
Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier said she wants the committee to hold a hearing to delve into the Army’s "alarming" end strength scramble and work on potential solutions to the issue.
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