New, woke U.S. military is at smallest active-duty level in 80 years as China threat looms

by WorldTribune Staff, December 18, 2023

Falling short of its recruitment goals, the U.S. military will enter 2024 with its smallest force in 80 years, even as strategists warn that wars involving especially China backed by Russia are increasingly likely and even imminent.

Under the newly-passed $886 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), total active-duty troop numbers will fall to 1,284,500 next year, the Pentagon said.

That is the lowest total since before the U.S. entered World War II in 1941.

Richard Fisher wrote recently for that CCP leader Xi Jin Ping has noted the Biden Administration’s failure to respond to China’s rapid and massive buildup of nuclear weapons.

“By threatening nuclear defeat, Xi Jinping can blackmail or coerce Washington from defending partners like Taiwan from Chinese invasion, or allies like Japan and the Philippines from Chinese attacks against their territory,” Fisher wrote.

The Department of Defense said the Army will have 445,000 active-duty soldiers, down more than 40,000 – 8.4 percent — over the last three years.

The Navy will have 10,000 fewer sailors, down 3 percent, and the Air Force will have 13,475 fewer airmen, down 4 percent.

The Marine Corps will have 8,900 fewer active-duty service members than in 2021, down nearly 5 percent in three years.

Only the Space Force, created under President Donald Trump, has not seen a decline in active-duty personnel.

Critics attribute the reasons Americans are reluctant to enlist to the military becoming woke and to the current crop of “incompetent” military leaders.

As Jeff Groom writes in Spectator World, the Army has waged a culture war, and it’s a quagmire: “Imagine you are an eighteen-year-old, white, Christian male in Georgia with a family history of military service. As you progressed through your teen years, you watched Confederate statues being torn down and military bases being renamed, endless media and elitist demonization of your culture as racist and deplorable and backwards, and military and civilian leadership that thinks diversity and inclusion (i.e. fewer white men) is best thing since sliced bread. Would you volunteer? Identity politics works both ways.”

The Republican-led House took steps to end wokeness in the military with the new NDAA. The defense spending bill prohibits funding for the teaching, training, or promotion of Critical Race Theory in the military. That includes at service academies and Department of Defense schools. It would prohibit the display of any unapproved flags, such as the LGBTQ pride flag, at military installations.

The NDAA also puts in place a hiring freeze on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) positions until the U.S. Government Accountability Office completes an investigation of the Pentagon’s DEI programs.

The package includes a Parents Bill of Rights, which would give parents of children in Department of Defense schools the right to review curriculum, books and instructional materials, meet with teachers, and provide consent before schools conduct medical exams or screenings of students.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee, wrote for the New York Post: “It’s one thing to enlist in an organization with a proud tradition and an ethic of protecting the country and looking after its troops. It’s another to enlist in a service with a corrupt and incompetent civilian leadership and a senior military leadership that’s no better. That military leadership, Milley and the entire Biden administration have betrayed their responsibilities, and everyone, especially the pool of likely recruits, knows it. … Incompetence and contempt for the troops have a price, and the bill is coming due.”

Ashish Vazirani, the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, told the House Armed Services Committee there needs to be a “call to service” for Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2012.

In the early 2000s, 25 percent of young people had never thought about joining the military. That figure is now more than 50 percent, Vazirani said.

“This has led to a disconnect between the military and a large share of society,” Vazirani said. “Youth of today are not saying no to what the military has to offer, they simply don’t know much about military service. We must reach today’s youth where they are with a message that resonates with them and motivates them to act.”

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