The Air Force will miss its annual enlisted recruiting goal across all three components for the first time since 1999, according to the head of the recruiting division.
The active duty Air Force reached 90% of its goal of 26,877 enlisted recruits, about 2,700 short of what it needs, according to Air Force Times. The Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard fared are also short, with 30% shortfalls in each component. The Reserve had set a goal of recruiting 9,300 and the Guard aimed at enlisting 11,745 airmen.
It’s not a complete surprise to the top brass. In March, Air Force Secretary Scott Kendall told a group that the Air Force would miss the goal by 10%, and six months later he appears to be spot on.
“We are swimming upstream against a reduced propensity to serve nationally across the board and a limited percentage of qualified candidates,” Kendall said in March.
Kendall continued to soften the news throughout the year. In June, he said the Air Force was working on ways of managing the situation.
“We have things that we can do to manage our way through this, so we’re not in any kind of crisis,” Kendall said at the Center for New American Security on June 22, according to Air & Space Forces Magazine.
According to some, young people have more economic opportunities right now, with a job market begging for anyone willing to work. Eligible recruits are in shorter supply than in past generations, as many young people are obese, have been on psychotropic or therapeutic drugs, use illegal drugs, or have a history of breaking the law.
Leftists say the military is racist and does not promote females.
Those on the right say the military has become too focused on identity politics, and does not value the fighting and patriotic traits of warriors.
Trust in institutions in general is also at a low point in America. Some potential warriors do not trust the government and won’t join a military that has become politicized with woke politics and suspect leaders.