The military draft in the United States ended on January 23rd, 1973.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the all-voluntary military, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Fort Meade, Maryland, on Wednesday. He administered the military oath of office to 85 courageous young individuSixty-sevens. Sixty-seven recruits were sent to basic training shortly after the ceremony, departing for bases across the country, such as Parris Island, South Carolina, and Fort Moore, Georgia.
Secretary Austin told the recruits that Americans like them joined our military out of conviction and not compulsion.
Secretary Austin greeted each recruit, shaking their hand and exchanging words with them.
Secretary Austin’s visit coincides with the ongoing recruiting crisis in the U.S. military due to factors such as a strong job market, the conclusion of overseas wars, and elevated rates of PTSD. Recruiters could not access high schools or colleges during t COVID in 2020 and 2021, resulting in the loss of critical in-person interactions with potential recruits.
College education also becomes a more popular option for high school graduates, with 62% of seniors encouraged to pursue higher education. Another reason for low recruitment numbers is the perception among some that the military has become more socially aware.
According to a Pentagon study, the nation is also facing a health crisis among young people, with 77% of America’s youth not eligible to serve.
There is also a concerning trend among the children of military families. These children, who usually make up the majority of U.S. Army recruits, advise their children against joining the military, particularly those from the Southern region.
The Army, Air Force, and Navy are projected to fall short of their recruiting goals this year. The U.S. military has generally achieved its annual recruitment goals since 1973. The U.S. Army fell short of its recruiting goals by 25% in the previous year.
After the September 11th attacks, there was an increase in recruiting due to the surge in patriotism nationwide. The Army will fall 15,000 recruits short of its 65,000 target this year. Meanwhile, U.S. military chiefs state that retention rates are currently at their highest, but they remain worried about the potential consequences if recruiting numbers do not improve.