FIRST ON FOX: The four-house Republicans, all military veterans, warn that the Biden administration’s handling of incidents like the Chinese spy balloon and the withdrawal from Afghanistan will further hamper the military’s recruiting efforts.
While a number of factors have contributed to the military recruitment crisis in recent years — including COVID-19 and President Biden’s decision to evacuate Afghanistan — fiscal 2022 was the worst year for military recruitment since the services switched to an all-volunteer one in 1973 Troops were switched.
“According to a recent survey by the Heritage Foundation, 68% of active duty military members said that the politicization of our military – particularly this administration’s focus on climate and gender issues as top national security priorities – would adversely affect their decision to encourage their children to do so join us,” Florida GOP Rep. Michael Waltz told Fox News Digital.
Waltz, an Army veteran, described the recruitment battle as “alarming,” saying “the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the failure to deter the invasion of Ukraine, and now the lack of action to take out the Chinese spy balloon over the Pacific.” [are] Key examples of a White House projecting weakness rather than strength to our adversaries and discouraging young Americans from signing up.”
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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted U.S. military preparedness among both recruits and service members, and President Biden’s administration has imposed a service-wide immunization mandate.
The US Army cut the salaries and benefits of about 60,000 National Guard and Reserve members in early July 2022 for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine as more than 30% of their recruiting positions remained vacant.
“As a retired Army Reserve major with combat duties in Iraq and Afghanistan, I assure you that President Biden’s lackluster response to the Chinese spy balloon made America look weak on the world stage,” Texas GOP Rep. Troy Nehls told Fox. “We know the COVID-19 vaccine mandate has impacted recruitment, but this latest case will deal a serious blow to our numbers.”
Nehls, who has represented the Lone Star State’s 22nd congressional district since 2021, added, “President Trump has shown peace through strength, and that’s why we had the strongest and most feared military force in the world.”
LEGISLATORS RAISING ALERT ABOUT US MILITARY RECRUITMENT CRISIS: “WHY SHOULD I JOIN?”
Approvingly, GOP Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, an Air Force veteran, told Fox that the cause of military recruitment problems was “multiple,” but he believed the “Chinese balloon incident” challenged the beliefs of some will reinforce that the President is not a good Commander-in-Chief.”
“This will be viewed by some as a continuation of what they saw in the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Bacon continued. “The President should have defended our sovereignty more vigorously.”
“Some are wondering if they want to serve during the Biden administration after the debacle in Afghanistan. Some also see the government foisting a wake-up call on the military and eyeing it to develop the best warfare force in the world,” Bacon said. “There are also some economic reasons that act as a deterrent. Private sector salaries are rising and more companies are offering tuition assistance.”
With a focus on providing better pay and necessities for those who serve in the military, Bacon will chair a quality of life panel under the Armed Services Committee to address “the issues that Congress and the military need to address.” . “
“Junior salaries have not kept pace with demand and, for example, military housing needs improvement,” Bacon added.
Montana GOP Assemblyman Ryan Zinke, a former SEAL instructor and commander of SEAL Team 6, also spoke to Fox about the recruiting issues facing the nation, saying, “There’s a gap in what that Pentagon says, and I think what’s happening on the ground.”
Zinke said there are “a number of reasons” the Pentagon blames recruiting problems, citing “overweight” and the dwindling number of high school seniors who are “physically qualified and able to pass the exam.”
ARMY EXPANDS PROGRAM FOR RECRUITS WHO FAIL TO MEET WEIGHT AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS WHILE THE RECRUITMENT CRISIS DEEPENS
To a certain extent, Zinke said, the claims that obesity and unfitness are causes of recruitment struggles are true, but there is also a “perception that the services emphasize diversity [and] Admission to the troop.”
“They not only accept it, they emphasize it,” he said, further describing the military’s “wake movement.”
Zinke said President Biden’s fumbling with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which resulted in the deaths of 13 US soldiers, dealt a “major blow” to the service and that it affected those who served “because it was embarrassing.”
“Yes, military service isn’t that desirable, but there’s a reason for it,” he continued. “It’s not because we don’t love America. This is what we do. We just don’t feel comfortable with this government.”
“Rather than solving the problem of what the military is, they’re going to lower the bar,” Zinke said of the government’s prospects for the recruitment effort. “[Lowering] The pole in most places continues to endanger the force and we won’t be as capable as the force.”
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The Army recently expanded a pre-school course that allows candidates who do not meet weight and fitness requirements to enlist in a bid to combat a recruiting crisis plaguing all branches of the military.
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and Michael Lee contributed to this article.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/house-gop-warns-bidens-blunders-chinese-spy-crafts-could-impact-alarming-military-recruitment-crisis House GOP warns Biden’s policy blunders, China’s espionage could exacerbate ‘alarming’ military recruitment crisis