The U.S. Army has not had a great year finding new recruits. Things have gotten so bad that they’ve actually dropped the requirement for a high school diploma or GED.

According to, the Army is a full 60% below its recruiting goal for this fiscal year:

The Army is tossing its mandate for potential recruits to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to enlist in the service, in one of the most dramatic moves yet in the escalating recruiting crisis hitting the entire Defense Department.

On Thursday, the service announced that individuals may enlist without those previously required education certifications if they ship to basic training this fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1.

Recruits must also be at least 18 years old and otherwise qualify for a job in the active-duty Army. They also must score at least a 50 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, an SAT-style quiz to measure a potential recruit’s academic ability.

A 50 on the test is a relatively low score, with 31 being the minimum to qualify for service. Combat arms jobs such as infantrymen and cavalry scouts need only minimal scores to serve, while admin work such as a human resources specialist or public affairs require scores of 100 or higher.

Every branch has suffered, with overall military recruiting down 23% this year.

The Army’s old policy was to accept new recruits at least 17 years old who hadn’t finished high school, with the permission of parents, on the condition that they finish high school before basic training.

The Army also relaxed its tattoo policy recently, allowing recruits who have tattoos on their necks or hands if they receive a waiver.

Recruiting has hit rock bottom, to the point that the Department of Defense has reduced its planned total force size (even after its budget gets a huge anticipated increase in the next NDAA).

For close to a decade, military officials have quietly warned of a pending crisis, reporting that the number of young Americans who even qualify to join the Army has shrunk to a minuscule level:

Only about one-quarter of young Americans are even eligible for service these days, a shrinking pool limited by an increasing number of potential recruits who are overweight or are screened out due to minor criminal infractions, including the use of recreational drugs such as marijuana.

In an opinion piece, the military blog Task & Purpose said gave two possible explanations, noting that advertising campaigns have badly missed the mark and that structural problems exist in the Army’s recruiting goals and functions. Recruiting has relied on a model first deployed in the 1970s when every family had a landline and the internet didn’t exist. The services have failed to embrace new technology, except in the advertising realm. Those ads have failed spectacularly in recent years.

Military blogger Chuck Holton was more pointed in his criticism. He wrote in response to the Task & Purpose article:

Good article. Makes some salient points worthy of further attention by the media. But the authors miss one large reason why young people aren’t joining the military. The kind of men and women who are predisposed to selfless service are often those who have no desire to join the woke mob. Today’s military has alienated conservative, God-fearing patriots who aren’t willing to get the jab or sit through interminable struggle sessions on transgenderism.

The article also misses the point that there are far fewer American youth who can pass the physical and moral requirements to join. The numbers of waivers for drug use, cutting, and other concerning behaviors is at an all-time high.

Looks like the Army is finding out the hard way: Get Woke, Go Broke.

What does he mean by the Army going woke? Last year, as our sister site Townhall pointed out, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, defended Critical Race Theory at West Point:

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained in a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday why he supports bringing Critical Race Theory into the American military while admitting “I’ll obviously have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is.”

“I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read,” Milley said. “And the United States Military Academy is a university, and it is important that we train and we understand,” he added as a rationale for teaching Critical Race Theory.

“I want to understand ‘white rage,’ and I’m white, and I want to understand it,” said the most senior military officer in America, linking the term to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

Understanding Critical Race Theory, according to Milley, is important to find out “what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? I want to find that out,” he said. “I want to maintain an open mind here and I do want to analyze it. It’s important that we understand that. Because our soldiers, sailors, airman, marines, and guardians come from the American people, so it is important that the leaders, now and in the future, do understand it.”

It hardly gets more woke than that. The head of the joint chiefs believes our nation is deeply, perhaps fundamentally, flawed. NBD, amirite?

Perhaps America’s high schoolers have soured on lectures about privilege and white rage.

Either that, or after years of these lectures, they no longer want to defend the country that their teachers, political leaders, and military apparatus repeatedly tell them doesn’t deserve defense.

Not exactly a smart recruiting tactic to maintain our nation’s combat readiness.

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