McClaughry: Military recruiting

by John McClaughry

If you’re concerned about an America in crisis, and I am, here’s an issue working its way to the surface that is causing a big problem.

We’re involved in a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, very nervous about waging war with China over Taiwan, backstopping Israel in its war against Hamas, and watching the mad Mullahs in Iran inching their way toward a nuclear bomb. National security is a huge issue, and here’s the bad news: “The U.S. military is in the worst recruiting slump in its history, fighting a competitive labor market and shifting demographic trends and attitudes toward military service. Only about 23% of young people in the prime recruiting age of 17 to 24 are even eligible for service.” That’s the conclusion of Steve Beynon writing in the November issue of the American Legion magazine.

He continues, “Contributing to the problem is poor performance on the military’s ACT-style entrance exam. Years of dwindling resources in the nation’s public schools have resulted in a batch of high school graduates who cannot pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, let alone score high enough to fill high end jobs in the services, such as air defense and cybersecurity that will play center stage in future conflicts.”

I disagree with Beynon’s “dwindling public school resources” excuse – I think the schools are bungling their job – but overall, his analysis is on the mark We cannot let military recruiting fail.

The author, a Kirby resident, is founder and vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute. To read all EAI news and commentary, go to

Categories: Commentary, Military

11 replies »

  1. Very true, John. The left seems to be hell-bent on dismantling every tenet that has afforded us safety and prosperity since WWII. But unlike their assault on cheap energy – which can be restored with the stroke of a pen and the turn of a spigot – a damaged military will take years to reinvigorate, repair and rebuild. Years that we will not have at our disposal when faced with an existential threat from a more capable and coherent foreign enemy.

    To defeat the enemy outside, we must first defeat the enemy within.

  2. “Democracies, I think – – if the cause, if the commanding general, if the conditions of the time and space take on their proper meaning – – for a season can produce the most murderous armies from the most unlikely of men, and do so in pursuit of something spiritual rather than the mere material.

    Democracy, and its twin of market capitalism, alone can instantaneously create lethal armies out of civilians, equip them with horrific engines of war, imbue them with a near-messianic zeal within a set time and place to exterminate what they understand as evil, have them follow to their deaths the most ruthless of men, and then melt anonymously back into the culture that produced them.”

    – Victor Davis Hansen, ‘The Soul of Battle’

    When the mission is unclear, when leadership is in a shambles, when evil is only just beginning to unveil itself, it’s little wonder that farmers, welders, construction workers of all disciplines, factory workers, teachers, and store clerks in their normal everyday lives are hesitant to go to war. But don’t underestimate the most heavily armed civilian population the earth has ever witnessed. When the time is right, when their freedom and liberty are under full attack, as is beginning to be the case today, history shows us that they will rise to the occasion.

  3. I agree with Jon Lynch. The enemy within has been groomed for many years and we see the growing evidence of that on a daily basis. It is disheartening.

  4. Jon needs to do some fact-checking. It is the extreme Right that is damaging recruiting. The U.S. military, like most Western countries, has seen a large increase in women enlistments over the past several years. The Right’s anti-abortion position is discouraging women, and men who support women’s rights, from joining the military.

    Then you have former football coach Tommy Tuberville, now in the Senate, blocking the military from making critical leadership appointments when the U.S. military faces enormous challenges on both sides of the world.

    It’s time for moderate Republicans to take back their Party.

    • Re: ” The Right’s anti-abortion position is discouraging women, and men who support women’s rights, from joining the military.”

      How so?

    • LOL. Your gaslighting machine needs some work sir! Let’s see, you got far-right anti-abortionists (check) and those pesky Senate Republicans providing their checks and balances, but you totally forgot climate change, racism and transphobia as the main causes of our military decline. I’ll give you a 2 out of 10 for effort at least. NEEDS MORE WORK.

      • Don’t forget the elephant in the room – mandating Covid vaccinations.

        My guess: We’ll not see another word from ‘John’ on this article.

    • Yes. Indeed it is, ‘John’. And we’re still waiting for you to address those issues.

  5. And why would anyone want to join todays military when the DHS lists returning veterans loyal to their oath as “domestic terrorists”. Because many of us have figured out who the real enemy is and have the knowledge and training to do something about it. We are telling our sons, daughters and grandchildren not to join. We see the dishonorable frauds like Admiral Kirby on tube lying to us everyday.

  6. After listening to retired Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor recently (as well as other top tier retired officers) they all opine current ranks of active service men and woman and not equipped or able to fight multiple fronts (450,000 is what they say is the current force.) Yet, the joint chiefs and The Biden are Hellbent on starting multiple conflicts for what purpose? Above all, current recruitment shows the military is calling up retired veterans for help because military age Americans are not up to snuff to make it past basic training. Why are so many foreign military age, fit and buff men pouring in over the border? Some say it’s the new army of the UN to finish the job of toppling the USA. Even if there was to be a draft, the USA can’t fight mulitple fronts thanks to The Biden and company. Carry on!