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Young Americans shunning the military

TIME:2022-07-15 15:32:33

The Capitol Hill in Washington DC, the US, Dec 4, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

According to an exclusive report by NBC recently, the United States has experienced its worst military shortage since the abolition of the draft system.

The United States is facing its worst military personnel shortage since it ended conscription in 1973.

Not only is the percentage of young Americans eligible to serve in the military at a record low, but an even smaller percentage is willing to consider enlisting in the military.

As of June, the Department of Defense had only completed 40 percent of its contract recruiting plan for fiscal year 2022, which ends on Sept 30.

For more than 200 years since its founding, the US has dominated the world by force. For decades, the US military has almost never encountered a serious shortage of soldiers.

With a sizable young population, ample supply of migrants and a healthy age structure, the recruitment difficulties the US faces originate from the fact that the US military is losing its reputation and appeal to the society.

Surveys show that some 57 percent of young US people believe military service can cause emotional or psychological problems, and nearly 50 percent believe military service can cause physical problems.

Some recent military scandals on the bullying of recruits and sexual assault of female soldiers have seriously harmed the brand of the US military.

And only 45 percent of US people have a great deal of trust and confidence in the US military now, compared with 69 percent in 2018. Of course, the frequent involvement of the US military in regional conflicts also increases the risks of death or injury.

Also, the change is caused by the imperceptible influence of US social ethos and culture. Parental encouragement and family tradition, often the most reliable motivation for young Americans to join the military, has begun to wear thin as the "contract generation of soldiers" has become the dominant force in the military. Because of the low number of volunteers and the length of service, only 13 percent of young working-age Americans today have a parent who served in the military, down from 40 percent in 1995.

More and more parents want their children to go to college and then find a decent job. The more efforts they put in to prompt their children to develop in that direction, the more difficult it is to persuade them to enlist.

As such, recruitment advertising and increased bonuses are a cure for the symptoms, not the cause.

If the national image of the US and the reputation of the military continue to decline, the difficulty of recruiting troops for the US military will become a long-term trend.

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