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Military Readiness and Morale

Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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28 Comments
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Military readiness is a serious issue. Nations rise and fall on it. Measured by manning, training, equipping, and leadership, it is also about high morale. What is that? Do we have it? If not, why not? Needed to win, how do you get it?

These are perennial questions, as old as the Greeks, Romans, and Vikings, familiar to Generals Pershing, Marshall, Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton, all wartime presidents, before WWI, WWII, and after Vietnam. They are timely now.

What do numbers tell us? Enlistment has plummeted since the proud days of Reagan, with only 148,318 Americans enlisting in 2020 versus 360,745 in 1980, a 58 percent decline. Fewer apply, and more exceptions get made.

Applications to the military have dropped 73 percent since 1980, down from 768,532 to 205,105, while acceptances rose from 46.9 percent to 72.3 percent.  Think about that. Something has to give.

While elite forces are different, drawn from highly motivated, mentally, emotionally, and physically strong applicants, the larger pool is a worry. 1968 saw 1.5 active-duty personnel. Today, we have less than 30 percent of that, and 77 percent of young Americans are assessed “unqualified to serve.” Big gap. 

In 2023, the Army, Navy, and Air Force all fell short of recruiting goals – by double digits. States with the highest share of joiners were Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Nevada, next closest set Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. 

To borrow from Winston Churchill’s description of RAF pilots, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”

What about “training?” Where do you begin? Tone deaf to what motivates patriots, Biden’s military runs ads for transgender, multi-gender, and woke recruits. To increase readiness. Really?

Meantime, excuses are constantly made. Even the Wall Street Journal says Biden has twisted the Pentagon into a woke pretzel. At the Pentagon and elsewhere, things are a mess, “the Department of Veterans Affairs has a gender gingerbread person. NASA says to beware of micro-inequities. And if U.S. Army servicewomen express ‘discomfort showering with a female who has male genitalia,’ what’s the brass’s reply? Talk to your commanding officer but toughen up.”

This is “no kidding” stuff, the sort that makes China, Russia, Iran, and America’s worst enemies drool, believe they can beat us in battle, believe we are stumbling. 

Compulsory, force-fed, do-it-or-get-fired, woke “training” is everywhere, loathsome madness. Orwellian words, Marxist doctrine, “critical race theory,” “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” punishment for not misusing “pronouns” for self-redefined genders, and attacks on faith – all prioritized over warfighting.

Left unsaid are the basics. No one will say them:  Winning wars requires superior warfighting, hand-to-hand conflict, marksmanship, self-defense, defense of others, and how to kill effectively, as well as act selflessly – on risk of death.

What motivated America’s WWII Generation individually, by platoon, company, and army – was unblinking confidence in mission, nation, and priority on winning.

Lose that, and you lose it all. These great patriots, the ones who lie at Arlington and around the world, did not care about being accommodated, pampered, excused, fussed over, would laugh at micro-aggressions, flavors of gender, and loved their faith.

Training followed that priority, soldiers focused on never letting others down, asking nothing special, and preparing to survive, defend, kill, and do their job. That is how we advanced liberty.

 “Equipping?” We are barely equipped for the last war, let alone the next. We are not recapitalizing properly, admitting mistakes, correcting errors, and thinking about what lies before us, “around corners.” Dozens of studies confirm shortfalls in material, armaments, ammunition, missiles, and indicators of strategic readiness

The past three years have been a misery, poor funding, oversight, strategy, planning, Ukraine draining unreplenished inventories, and weak long-term thinking.

Finally, “leadership?” Embarrassing. Toxic wokeness, anti-traditional prejudice, self-interested, and blithely leftist “leaders” – then a Secretary of Defense goes AWOL, lies to the troops, the president, then lies again, leaves the Pentagon leaderless, is plainly all about himself, and … no consequences.

So, we come to the part of readiness critical for winning – morale. With nothing but high morale, men have beaten the odds; without it, winning can be impossible.

So, why do we have diminished morale? Do you want to know? Because our nation’s leaders are perceived as lacking integrity, do not understand sacrifice, do not care.

None of them address this or what is at stake – perhaps because they do not know, do not think war is likely, or have no idea what they are up against. Mystifyingly, our leaders do not prioritize high morale, love of country, risk of death, or honor.

In short, many civilian and even military leaders are now purely political animals, more concerned about sensitivity, not hurting a recruit’s feelings, protecting their career, and fearing pronouns more than China, a potentially fatal error – for the nation.

Putting leftist politics above hard-fought victories is a dangerous game. High morale comes from being real fighters, and unapologetic for that commitment. We should not have leaders more interested in a sensitivity medal than winning.

You either get it or do not. High morale wins wars; lack of it loses them. A quote from George C. Marshall, former Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State, says it all: “It is not enough to fight. It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It is morale that wins the victory.” That’s it.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Max
Max
1 month ago

RBC, Definitely tougher in today’s world to get motivated young people to join the Armed Forces. Too many have not been brought up correctly, many glued to their game boxes and phones. Of course under the current administration training sucks with too many time outs because the DI is pushing recruits too hard. The higher military authorities have been put in place during the Obama administration.
I met a soon to be retired Army LTC who just come back from the Middle East in Nov 2023. The men under him basically became mutinous against him because they said the the LTC was pushing them too hard. His COL brought him in for counseling and told him that he understood what was going on but really could not do anything. The COL recommended that the LTC take leave home and prepare for his retirement which he did. The recent drone strike against US military personnel in Jordan was the area where this LTC had just left.
Can’t elaborate any more on this situation other than it will continue to get worse.

SusanW
SusanW
1 month ago

Military readiness is a concern I have been pondering for awhile now. Knowing history as well as I do, and seeing how much our military has declined, brings great fear to my heart and soul. Coincidentally, our educational system and political leaders all began to decline at the same time. Our leaders became weaker and were not as dedicated to doing the right thing as past leaders. In addition, we began raising a generation of children where consequences were not enforced, encouragement to work hard and to be your best, and to always remember to give back to the people and country who gave you the freedom to follow your dreams, was not expected. So, what do we do? For one, we need to focus more on coming together as a nation rather than remain so divided. We can not have a strong military, leaders, and soldiers who are inspired and eager to fight for our country, if we can’t stop pointing the proverbial finger and just except the fact that both sides have created this problem. If we don’t do something soon, then it won’t matter, as our great country will be just a memory. How many warning signs must we ignore before it’s too late?
”The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” Colin Powell

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

We had Mealy ( no spelling error) Which should have been court Marshalled
And now this guy which is only worried about his butt and does not understand chain of command.
Also I don’t want them to find a target. Our targets should have been identified and tracked and 5 minutes after their launch we should see smoke where there butt was.
I also think the mouse statements we don’t want war should be if you touch one American we’ll introduce you to the 70 virgins one minute later

Jim
Jim
1 month ago

If we had more Robert Charles we would not be in this stupid mess

Donna
Donna
1 month ago

You are such a lost soul. Jesus loves you, turn your heart over to Him and be saved from the eternal damnation you are otherwise headed for. I hope many on this site are praying for you.

Melinda
Melinda
1 month ago

You deserve to lose your mind..oh, wait, too late!

Fredrick
Fredrick
1 month ago

The military has become beyound sad! That’s why real committed Americans
won’t join. The U.S. is F’d if we get into are real war.

RBC
RBC
1 month ago

My dear Mr. Fort, you lift my heart no end, bringing chuckles when all is droll. You have no idea how heartening it is to see someone on the far left finally concerned about … citizenship. Keep growing my friend!

RBC
RBC
1 month ago

Brother Fort, that would give me free everything, are you sure?

Douglas Wilson
Douglas Wilson
1 month ago

Barack Obama had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to unite this country; he did the opposite. Donald Trump – like him or not – was relentlessly attacked even prior to his inauguration and, despite his accomplishments, those attacks continue to this day, regardless of their merits. Joe Biden was touted as both a moderate and ‘The Anti-Trump.’ He (and Obama’s 3rd term policies) have failed spectacularly, while his unconstitutional actions have been allowed to thrive by Congress.
There is no one on our bridge of our Ship of State and we have lost our rudder! Both our secretaries of state and defense are blatantly incompetent and yet we wonder why China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, et al don’t take us seriously?!
We are on the verge of another World War and, barring direct intervention by God Almighty, I have serious doubts about an American victory. Yeah, you could say my morale is rather low. (LtCol, USMC, Ret.)

Brenda
Brenda
1 month ago

This ” readiness ” of our military is crucial to our country’s safety and of those country’s who are our allies. The problem is from the very top down.Joe Biden and this administration, military provide no plans, direction. God forbid we utilize the intelligence, and other tools to be proactive- we sadly are past that and are at the mercy of those who ( hopefully) are capable and can implement what is needed going forward.

RBC
RBC
1 month ago

My dear Fort, I seldom rise to defend Hillary Clinton, but … seems the time has come. First Amendment is a marvel, worth your time. Then again, I see you already appreciate its value. Keep at it!

Rose Schottman
Rose Schottman
1 month ago

I always enjoy your articles Mr. Charles – so well written! In the pic, the USCG was missing (my husband served 4 years in the USCG)

Timothy James Welter.
Timothy James Welter.
1 month ago

Before we consider IRAN A Pushover look at www. Keshe Foundation.org. com Space Ship rentals Pill Shaped or size and Shapes leafed up to you. With claimed Mach speeds of 44.0 not.44 4.4 44.0 Making Missels faster than A Lazer can shoot down.

Leslie
Leslie
1 month ago

So, you force an experimental drug on your GI’s which disables a percentage of them and you encourage “trans” to join and pay for their “treatment” which makes them unable to be deployed because of their drug maintenance. Then to top it all off you only promote based on DEI or rather DIE. Wow, I don’t understand why people don’t enlist!

VSnoddy
VSnoddy
1 month ago

Enough Said!

John Shipway
John Shipway
1 month ago

Here again is the former working stooge of the diversity hire known as Colin Powell, a laughably inept General in every way other than the number of boxes ticked off on the promotion form.
Look at our nation. Who in their right mind would be willing to work for crap pay under astonishingly stupid leadership doing scut work at a job they cannot quit at will……to promote perversion in the ranks such as paid for sex change surgery and such creatures getting diversity promotions over service members that actually try to excel? And when they go home they find their family scared to go outside as dark approaches. Their children arent safe in area parks. Crimes go unpunished and their occurrence is increasing like mad. Wages are stagnating because of a new illegal pool of workers willing ot work below minimum wage for under the table paid positions as they also get free money from the same government these soldiers work for and whose military pay is lower than that of the “new arrivals”.
Fix the country. Make people proud of America and then perhaps the people will support the military by joining.
But alas, this wont happen

Steven Coughlin
Steven Coughlin
1 month ago

The job of our military is to break things and kill people. Period.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Sleep easy, America, knowing that if we go to war, our troops will be using the correct pronouns while dialoguing with the enemy.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 month ago

So we’re shocked that the UN led the Oct attack on Israel ? Duh. We have known for decades that the diseased UN is led by the third world and marxists. I have long believed that the US should require the UN to leave NYC but when you think about it it would ( or should be) easier to keep up with their communist schemes when they are closeby.
I do think that since NYC Mayor Adams is having to manage the hundreds of illegals that have been sent to him by Texas, he should eliminate police protection of the UN in order to concentrate on important issues.

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