EXCLUSIVE: Republican senators are readying to make the case that the Pentagon’s progressive military policies under the Biden administration are to blame for the Armed Forces’ dire recruitment crisis.
The Senate Armed Services Committee is holding a hearing at 9:30am this morning on the military’s shortage of new troops, which the Center for Strategic and International Studies called “the worst recruiting crisis since the creation of the All-Volunteer Force nearly 50 years ago.”
Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Rick Scott, R-Fla., members of the committee and military veterans themselves, drew a link to their own time serving the country when asked by Fox News Digital about the current personnel crisis.
“My family didn’t have much growing up, and the Navy gave me the opportunity for a better life and a better education – it can provide that for so many kids across our nation. But unfortunately, this administration has made their focus more on pushing the failed agenda of the radical Left than building a lethal force and advertising the opportunities our military provides and how great our service can be for one’s life,” Scott said. “When our military is more focused on achieving some diversity metric rather than defeating our enemies, our national defense and the American people lose.”
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Ernst told Fox News Digital, “The military’s purpose is to fight and win—not crusade for social causes. As a combat veteran, this is personal to me. The Department of Defense must act urgently to fix waning recruitment and retention—and ultimately to build a more lethal force. Our adversaries are watching.”
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Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., another member of the panel, told Fox News Digital that he’s looking to press the Pentagon officials at today’s hearing on their commitment to upholding national safety rather than waging “culture wars at home.”
“The goal of our military should be to meet global challenges facing America with decisive authority, not to wage culture wars at home,” Schmitt said. “I look forward to questioning top military officials…to get more answers and ensure that our military is laser-focused on addressing the challenges that our adversaries pose to our country and our freedoms.”
In a statement made to Fox News Digital late last week, the committee’s top Republican, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., warned that “divisive” policies imposed by President Joe Biden’s appointees are leaving the U.S. more vulnerable to its foreign adversaries.
“In the competition with China and Russia, our greatest asset is our people. The divisive social policies being pushed by senior Democrat appointees at the Pentagon are undermining this advantage,” Wicker said.
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The personnel shortage has so far hit the Army the hardest, having fallen short of its 2022 recruitment goals by 25%. The Navy, Air Force and Marines all barely scraped by after dipping into their pools of deferred recruits – guaranteeing a setback in reaching this year’s benchmarks.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., referenced the dire recruitment statistics in his own comments to Fox News Digital.
“While the Biden administration declares climate change a national security threat, our real enemies are growing in strength and numbers,” Tuberville said. “Last year the Army missed its recruitment goal by 15,000 recruits — more than an entire division. This year is shaping up to be even worse. This national security emergency ought to be a wake-up call for Pentagon leadership but they’ve refused to take responsibility. It’s time for them to get serious about keeping our country safe.”
Testifying at the Tuesday morning hearing will be the undersecretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin is expected on Capitol Hill later this week for a House hearing on Biden’s Defense budget proposal.
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