The vast majority of U.S. active duty military members believe the Pentagon has become politicized, according to data obtained exclusively by Breitbart News.
Sixty-eight percent of active duty members say they have “witnessed a growing politicization,” while 53 percent say the military has become “too politicized.” Sixty-eight percent also say such politicization would impact their decision to encourage their children to join the military.
The data, gathered by the National Independent Panel on Military Service and Readiness (NIPMSR), show specific policy areas of concern for active duty military at a time when President Joe Biden’s Pentagon has been criticized by many for conducting social experiments in the ranks of the military, as opposed to focusing on national defense. The NIPMSR was empaneled by Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts.
“The Pentagon should be focused on winning America’s future wars rather than prioritizing divisive programs and issues,” Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), who chaired the panel, said. “The Pentagon should be focused on how best to counter our global adversaries like China and recruiting the best and brightest to our ranks.”
Changing policy allowing unrestricted service of transgender-identifying persons appears to be a major sticking point for active duty military, with 80 percent reporting that the changes have decreased their trust in the military.
Equity-based initiatives like lowering physical fitness standards are also of great concern for active duty, as 70 percent saying the reduction of such standards to “even the playing field” lowers their trust in the institution.
The new focus on “climate change as a top national security threat” has also lost the trust of 70 percent of active duty military.
Sixty-nine percent said the inclusion of critical race theory books on the reading list for the Chief of Naval Operations was concerning, while 68 percent said they were concerned about reports of sexual assault.
When broken down by top-selected areas of concern, the highest ranking were an “over emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” the reduction of fitness standards, and the military funding abortions.
“It’s more clear than ever that Americans are losing faith in what should be America’s most trusted institution and the current recruitment crisis facing our military is evidence of that,” Waltz said.
According to Heritage Executive Vice President Derrick Morgan, 2022 “was the worst year for recruiting since the advent of the all-volunteer force, and 2023 is shaping up to be as bad or worse.”
“These alarming poll results confirm what many have long suspected,” panel member and First Liberty Institute director of Military Affairs and senior counsel Mike Berry said. “Our military is further adrift than ever and risks becoming completely unmoored from its national security role.”
“This poll is another warning shot to policymakers that we are failing our troops by allowing political activism to deprive them of the focus and high training standards they deserve to fight and win,” Hudson Institute senior fellow and panel member Rebecca Heinrichs said.