Army sees decline in White recruits amid culture war attacks: report

The Army has seen a sharp decline in White recruits as the service deals with recruiting woes and culture war attacks over its inclusive policies.

The Army has seen a decline in White recruits over the past decade, a part of the military branch’s historic overall recruiting woes that have leadership concerned, according to data reviewed by Military.com. 

A total of 44,042 new Army recruits were categorized by the service as White in 2018. However, that number fell each year to a low of 25,070 in 2023, with a 6% dip from 2022 to 2023, the news outlet reported. 

During that same five-year period, Black recruits rose from 20% to 24%, and Hispanics increased from 17% to 24%.

The drop in White recruits isn’t easily explained, Army officials explained. 


Data experts and Army officials interviewed by the news outlet said the demographic trend points to a number of issues, including growing obesity rates among military-age Americans, an underfunded public education system, and partisan scrutiny of the Army itself. 

Last year, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told reporters that critiques of the service being “woke” added to its recruiting woes. 

“We are a ready Army, not a ‘woke’ Army,” she said, according to a report in Task & Purpose. “That’s something, frankly, the chief [Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville] and I said throughout posture season in hearings, in meetings with members of Congress.”

One Army official pointed to attacks from conservative lawmakers and media, who have accused the service of prioritizing inclusion efforts rather than its war-fighting capabilities. Some of the policies include being more inclusive of women and service members from racial minority groups and LGBTQ+ troops.

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“No, the young applicants don’t care about this stuff. But the older people in their life do, who have a lot of influence … parents, coaches, pastors,” one Army official told Military.com. “There’s a level of prestige in parts of conservative America with service that has degraded. Now, you can say you don’t want to join, for whatever reason, or bad-mouth the service without any cultural guilt associated for the first time in those areas.”

Fox News Digital has reached out to the Army and its recruiting command. 

One Army official told Military.com that recruiting efforts were mimicking trends in the private sector. 

“What we’re seeing is a reflection of society; what we know less of is what is driving all of these things,” one Army official told Military.com. “There is no widely accepted cause.”

In an effort to increase the number of troops, the Army recently went back to its nostalgic slogan “Be All You Can Be.” 

One ad that was harshly criticized was a 2022 ad titled: “The Calling,” featuring a real-life soldier who has two mothers.

The Army is now seeking structural changes in how it recruits soldiers, including new career fields aimed at putting the right recruits to help fill the ranks.

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