To the leadership of the United States Department of Defense:
There exists one apparatus that will solve the Army’s recruiting crisis: a mirror.
And that mirror should be used by every senior leader, military and civilian, throughout the United States Army and military at-large because both the source and solution of many of our forces’ current woes, including retention and recruitment, are standing in front of it. For while you search feverishly for peripheral solutions to this crisis, the men and women of America are conveying one unambiguous message about its true root cause:
“To the leaders of the United States military: We no longer entrust our welfare, and/or the welfare of our children, to your care.”
We, like tens of thousands of service members and veterans like us, have witnessed you, the leadership of our military, when given the choice of self/career-preservation over the welfare of those in your stead, consistently opt for the former. We have watched thousands die in bungled and fruitless conflicts, and thousands more die because of your failure to curb our mental health and suicide epidemic. We have watched thousands of our honorably-serving brothers and sisters in-arms unceremoniously ostracized and then dismissed from the Services for not following orders whose legality was dubious at best. We have watched as your people, who you tout as your “most valuable resource,” have been harassed and assaulted and abused with impunity for decades. We have watched the military’s systems of “justice” and “redress” become so corrupted that instead of serving the individual service member, they instead now serve to protect the power-hungry cabal of the institution, resulting in rampant and unabated retribution and reprisal. We have watched as you have blamed the decay of our military on COVID, and out-of-shape Gen Z’ers, and BRAC, and other exogenous “boogeymen” scapegoats. We have watched as you hold your young officer and enlisted corps to high moral and ethical standards while you hypocritically embody the antithesis of those very values. But millions of Americans, to include and especially the youth of this great nation, now see the truth too. They see what the military institution has become, and they and their children are saying “no thank you” to service in that institution. If you sincerely endeavor to confront your recruiting woes, then the solution is easily found – it’s standing in front of the mirror. The time has arrived to take a hard, honest look at it.
The Walk the Talk Foundation
View West Point’s Call for Essays website here.