William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT:  America's military is deteriorating.  It faces a stunning manpower shortage, with no end in sight.  Morale is being decimated by the injection of "woke" thinking into military training.  The Democratic Party is dominated by those who want to defund the police and the military simultaneously, and that party is currently in power.  Most of the press doesn't care.  But if there is an international crisis, we could wind up in serious trouble.  There is no guarantee the United States will continue.  From Fox: 

The U.S. military’s all-volunteer force (AVF) is slowly dying. In the five decades since conscription ended, the AVF produced the high-quality force it promised. In conflict after conflict, the more-experienced, better-motivated, and professional U.S. troops dominated the battlefield.

Today, however, the armed services are struggling to meet their recruiting goals as rarely before. The Army is the most affected, projected to fall short by up to 15,000 soldiers, with a larger deficit expected next year. Experts point to a variety of reasons, such as insufficient pay and benefits, a difficult work-life environment, "culture war" issues, COVID-19, and a strong job market. Even if each were "fixed," the core issues driving the AVF’s decline still won’t be reversed.

The fact is the pool of Americans aged 17-24 who are qualified and interested in serving continues to shrink. When I was secretary of the Army in 2018, 71% of these 34 million young people could not meet the military’s entry requirements due mostly to obesity, drug use, physical and mental health problems, and criminal misconduct. Four years later, that number is even higher. Further, of the 23% eligible to serve today, another 10% don’t meet the military’s academic standards. Worse, of the 3.5 million young Americans remaining, only 9% (~320,000) have a proclivity to serve. A nation of 332 million people should do better than that.

The numbers are all heading in the wrong direction, driven by broader cultural and lifestyle trends and a population unfamiliar with the less than 1% of the U.S. population in uniform that protects them. When the draft ended in 1973, most young people had a family connection to the armed forces who could explain military life and encourage service to country; today that number is far lower. Major reductions in the size of the U.S. military and in the number of bases across the country after the Cold War’s end contributed to this problem. A "knowledge gap" has grown over time due to civilians’ lack of interaction with those in uniform. This has led to an "identity gap" that inhibits many from considering a stint in the armed forces. It’s no mystery why a military caste has developed in America, with nearly 80% of today’s service members having a family member that served. All of this affects a broader set of civil-military relations with which the nation is wrestling.

The scope and scale of these trends are beyond the ability of the Pentagon to remedy. There are actions the services can and are taking, but these only address the problem at the margins. Because the ability of the military to defend the country depends directly on a sizable force of top-notch volunteers, this is a national challenge that must be addressed at the highest levels.

COMMENT:  Please read the rest.  It's important.  With the kind of leadership we have today, it's unlikely the main problems will even be addressed.  We are entering a period when foreign enemies will see a weaker American military than they've seen in many years.  Weakness leads to war, never to peace.  Yet, we don't hear the alarm sounded.

September 19-20, 2022