Implosion of the all-volunteer military

| February 5, 2023

Recruiting challenges continue to face the military. Stuart Scheller, of Real Clear Defense, points to leadership. Leadership contributed directly, or indirectly, to events occurring in the military that are seen and reviewed by the public at large. Scheller also addresses the blended retirement system that removes a financial incentive to continue to make the military a career.

From Real Clear Defense:

Senator Tillis, who like others on the committee lacks military experience, failed recognizing how the blended retirement model, recently implemented in the military, will negatively impact retention. Military members entering the service after 1 January 2018 are no longer beholden to the twenty-year retirement model. Starting last year, service members under the blended retirement model can begin exiting without financial penalty. This new generation has a 401K transferable to any organization. Past generations within the all-volunteer model were influenced by financial pressure to sustain service towards a twenty-year retirement.

Economics, much like the influence it had on the creation of the all-volunteer force, drove the military towards the 401K system. But when financial motivations compelled the shift, military leaders failed modifying how senior commanders treated talented service members with 8 to 18 years of service. In the past, leaders took for granted middle management’s dedication while working towards retirement. This is no longer the case. If there is no offsetting financial penalty, why would service members work 18-hour days building power-point slides with vague purpose, withstand beratement, and move every three years when other opportunities await? And these retention problems only exacerbate recruitment shortfalls.

Military service should be about a larger selfless sacrifice, but it’s hard for leadership to stand on principal about selfless service when financial incentives drove the creation of the all-volunteer force and then later shifted it to the blended retirement model. This, exacerbated by leadership’s inability for honest self-reflection, makes any calls to duty and honor ring hollow.

Temporary incentives focused on recruiting such as lowering standards, waiving tattoo restrictions, amending previous disqualifying medical conditions, and offering marginally higher financial incentives will not be enough to guarantee an increase in dedicated volunteers or offset falling retention rates. Without dramatic changes to current leadership, the bleeding will continue.

Stuart Scheller details what he sees as challenges to maintaining the all-volunteer force here.

Category: Military issues

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The money isn’t the problem… the issue is the continuing erosion of good leadership and practices within the military. I just retired after 22 years in the Army and have watched the implosion of the Services to the false gods of wokeness.

Name changed to protect privacy.


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jeff LPH 3 63-66

Sure has changed since I got out


Given the nature of our political and social positions over the last few years, it is not clear what young people would feel is worth fighting for.

Much of what is being spouted by our now exceedingly geriatric political class that is completely anathema to how most young people are the world.

It is like we have built an entire political economy that is designed to benefit sociopaths, grifters, narcissists, and the already wealthy.

While simultaneously scapegoating the poor and a kaleidoscope of underprivileged and out groups as a distraction from the real policy failures.


Why do unemployed pseudo intellectual d bags always try to speak for the younger generations? You only see one segment of a generation and yet spout nonsense. The new military just doesn’t have the appeal to draw higher quality applicants it once did. Many don’t see it as tough enough or being special enough to warrant spending years on. The embarrassment of Afghanistan and veterans telling kids to stay away isn’t helping either. The military today is seen as not having it’s shit together.


It’s because they have already learned every thing there is to learn. Go ahead, ask them anything.


Pretty sure every generation has said similar about their own kids.


Young pigs grunt as old pigs have grunted before them. –old proverb


Before I retired, I was having to spend way too much time on politicized jargon and not enough time on operational issues.

The DON Extremism training was the last straw for me. Not to mention the forced COVID vaccinations on an experimental drug and the way we abandoned Afghanistan.

I get it. Your balls to the wall for all that and how it was done. But the majority of Americans that traditionally volunteer for the Military are not.

I doubt you’re going to be making up these numbers from enough blue/pink haired They/Them’s from the San Francisco Bay Area.


Is it wrong when I see the Commie-sar that I just down vote and move to the next comment?


If that is wrong I dont want to be right.

Seriously though, he is 100% correct, just 180 out on where the blame lies. If you add the ages of Geriatric Fran, Pocahontas, and the lovable Xiden together you get 233 years which is completely insane. So yeah, old people spouting nonsense that the young people don’t get.

And this, is the Democratic Party exactly:

“It is like we have built an entire political economy that is designed to benefit sociopaths, grifters, narcissists, and the already wealthy.”


On behalf of us geriatric folks, I would like to say that young folks are at least as full of shit as old folks, and lack the embarrassing experiences and failures which breed wisdom. Je me souviens.


Roger that, Brother.


You must be another vet of the 509th. I served in second battalion in 1969 and five months of 1970.

USMC Steve

Two pronged problem. The current socialist democrat regime and hierarchy of the military is one. They neither understand nor care about the military and its role.

Then you have the fact that over 70 percent of the base to recruit from is either mentally / physically / or both incapable of any form of service, or possessing the discipline to do what they are told when they are told to do it.


Naw. It is what I do. Life is too short to read his fraudulent blather and prog talking points.

A Proud Infidel®™

But on the other hand, it does give one a view into the mind of those brainwashed in today’s colleges.


No, feel free.

A Proud Infidel®™

The politics of YOUR side is what has reduced our Military to what it is today, Major Moonbat. People promoted and given awards just because of their ethnicity along with hardworking White men getting denigrated because of the left’s made-up revised history. NOW with that said, yes, wrong was done in the past, BUT DONB’T EVEN THINK of trying to blame or make me feel guilty about it, I and MY Ancestors were not involved.


Hear ya.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous

My nephew (4ID) has two words for you:
“Bitch, please.”


Also, to be clear; we saw the same drop in interest in military service in the years following the Vietnam war, and that did not lead to the collapse of the all volunteer for; it lead to the beginning of it.

This is not a collapse of the volunteer force, this is yet another early sign of a political reckoning; a national identity crisis.

If our politicians response to the will of the younger generations our country will be better for it and the young will respond with a willingness to defend this nation.

It is the same social contract as ever.

If our politicians refuse to respond to the will of younger generations then they will eventually be replaced.

Boomers have held political dominance for far too long. Their time in power is at its twilight and the political angst you see is a generation on tilt as they face their accelerating political irrelevance.

And before you “what about” Gen X; gen X was never politically relevant. Boomers dominated for two generations.


What do you know about the younger generation? They are diverse as always, the traditional recruits the adventurist, athletic, young male looking for a challenge and an opportunity to fulfill what they see as an obligation as an American are disillusioned by what they see in the military and civilian society. More of them are bypassing the military and getting on with their lives the inept leadership will lower standards and pander to their masters political ideas without regard to what the services degrade into and god forbid if we have to fight China we are going to pay a heavy price. Why do middle age pretend intellectuals always claim to speak for the younger generations?


Military leadership abandoned those seeking to serve for righteous, patriotic reasons. The woke doctrine in place among the services decreases readiness (if not eliminating it altogether) and sets the country on an even faster track to irrelevance. Didn’t you read the article about the MCPON going to Reddit for an embarrassing Q&A sesh? Given all that, it’s no surprise fewer wish to serve. They created the national identity crisis in a place where it should never have been allowed to breed and fester.

Patton, Eisenhower, Vanderbilt, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance…. they’re all rolling in their graves at this mess. Where have men like that gone? (Likely men you, Commissar Shit-For-Brains, would have been happy to see die in the pandemic…)

Get a refund from UCB… if you seriously went there. Otherwise, be a good lad and fetch us some coffee and make me a fucking sandwich.


Again, the military leadership has little to do with this. This is not doctrine, it is law. Call your Senator or Representative.

WWII leadership is a bad example in the modern era. The conduct if not the nature of war has changed, we had an actual declaration of war, and the information environment was completely different. Most of the leaders you mention were responsible for staggering losses and defeats that would simply be unacceptable today.


Leadership has everything to do with this. The military is led by politically motivated yes-men who have forgotten that the number one purpose of a military is to kill people and break things. If the golden nuggets of woke bullshit dispensed by today’s social justice warriors do not increase the effectiveness and lethality of the military, leadership has an obligation to stand up and say no, we ain’t doing that. Our flag and field grade officers have failed.


This. Bingo.

Thank you.


I doubt many kids can name the Chairman, the Chief, or the Secretary ( or President)


I doubt anyone can look at your response to my post and find any relevance to my statement.


The military exists to impose our will on our enemies- we generally do that by killing people and breaking their stuff.

I’m not defending the senior leaders that were responsible for the recent debacles- I am saying that the civilian leaders, elected by the people, established the policies that got us here.

The nation is having an identity crisis, and it will probably get worse before it gets better. What we call wokeism is an attempt to cater to everyone’s emotionally driven and selfish world view- the generation coming into adulthood has always lived a life of comfort, and they were raised by a generation that also led a life of comfort.

The fact is that these ideologies are logically inconsistent- look at the hoops the media is jumping through to make sense of the Memphis shooting, as an example.

So, a calling to a higher purpose is simply not going to resonate with most young Americans. They don’t understand the very concept, and they view anyone who does as a fool.


What Memphis shooting? They happen so often it is hard to keep up.

Who are “they” again? Young Americans that you speak for? I fathered two young Americans. One serves, one is ineligible or probably would be serving too.

It was entirely his choice. He also lived a life of relative comfort and had plenty of options. Couldn’t be more proud.


The younger generations are products of their parents. I too am very proud of my boys, it’s a lot of work, and can test you like nothing else but the rewards of doing it right are great. We talk a lot about earning titles here on this forum but anyone can be a parent, you have to earn being a dad or mom. Impart your values, instill pride, and discipline, be there at the games and teacher conferences, take an active part in their lives. Help your kids find answers to life’s questions and problems. The next generation is a reflection of the last and more importantly your children are a reflection of you.


Woke policies are not “laws” they’re deliberately destructive policies designed to undermine success and the prevention of the very “unacceptable” losses you dribble on about.

Last edited 1 year ago by Deckie

Nope. Laws are laws, policy is sometimes law but generally comes from political appointeeS

USMC Steve

Not really. The service secretaries and the SecDef have significant input into this stuff, and they just jumped on the nonsense bandwagon. Your statement about warfare is not necessarily true either. It just has not developed that a really large scale war broke out, and if we go at it with the Chicoms it will not be tiny, nor will we win. Our military has not been able to fight substantial wars since before Desert Storm. The DOD freely admitted that we could not handle more than one MRC at a time any more. And our losses in WWII were not all that monstrous, when we lost less than 500,000 out of a total force of over 16 million.


Define war, and what do you mean by large scale? Why hasn’t it broken out?


The Two War Policy was just that- policy. It was a deliberate decision, and we’ve had a Win/Hold/Win policy or something similar since then. Peace dividend, you know.

Not sure I agree on the significance of losses in WWII, although they were small compared to our enemies and allies alike. My point is the American people would not tolerate losses like that today.

Without getting into the definition of war or what makes one large scale, why do you think the US hasn’t been involved in one for a while? Granted, we have a bad track record with insurgencies (who doesn’t?), but we’ve handily defeated any enemy stupid enough to fight us conventionally.


No one has fought “us” since the war of 1812. Every other war we have been involved in has either been an insurgency to try to throw off the yoke of US dictatorial power, apply US Power to another nation through invasion or involved allies.

There is nothing to be gained by attacking the US. No land or treasure that could be held or gained that would make the effort and calculus worthwhile. No other nation has the assets to engage in such a task even if they wanted to.

China has incentives. Due to President Depends suggesting several times an illegal course of action that he would defend Taiwan gives them incentive to attack us to isolate Taiwan.


You started strong but threw in a catchall category that basically includes everything and I completely lost your point.

However, there is a lot to be gained in attacking the US- in your own words, throwing off the yoke of US dictatorial power (again, your words, I think most of our overseas adventures have done the world a net good, but I love America).

I think what you are trying to say is that the US is a big country with two big oceans between us and the bad guys and nice neighbors to the north and south, so attacking us in the conventional sense would be pretty stupid.


However, we live in a world with cyber capabilities, information warfare, and even economic power (remember the DIME model of National Power). In fact, what China is doing now is mainly in the Economic domain, via the New Silk Road.


We have a long history. I don’t think for example that the tribal Indians are going to agree with you on the more good than harm thing.

The following countries that were invaded would likely disagree as well:
Haiti, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Nicaragua, Cuba and a few others.

The US doesn’t really apply as much dictatorial power much these days. We did install Aristde and tried to install the monarchy in Nepal but it is a lot less committed than the old days. But we are still running around sticking our nose in places it doesn’t need to be.

Many of the places we go, are either pointless and/or we lose. Nepal, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Cuba, Lebanon, Iran… the list is pretty long. Neither Cambodia or Laos would argue they were better off after US intervention.

I guess at the end of the day it comes down to this:

The US was never originally designed to have:

  • A Standing Army
  • A powerful central government, with an executive with war powers

Those were safeguards against tyranny. We have fallen far from the path and gained little but headaches from it. Sadly, there is no way to go back.


I disagree strongly with your Generation X was never relevant comment.


The Last of Generation X


Wait, I’m Gen X and still alive! Can I be the Next To The Last of Generation X?


Me too!


A key difference between the post-Vietnam military and today is that junior leadership during Vietnam looked at many of the missteps of that conflict and actively worked to improve upon them. They didn’t kowtow to the recruits and try to remake the military to match what novices think it should be, they actually worked to make it more effective.

Now they’re just trying to make it more appealing, which is leading to it being both less effective and ultimately less rewarding.


You are conflating policy with doctrine. The hierarchy is law, policy, regulation. Congress enacts legal requirements every year with the NDAA, DoD and the services comply through policy and regulation.


I’m not confusing them. Both policy and doctrine were improved in response to Vietnam. Largely, it is policy that is failing now, but, while doctrine may not be regressing, it is not being adequately taught, rehearsed, or built upon as a result of those policy failings.


Give me an example.

I’m not familiar with how the junior services train, but the Army conducts some pretty rigorous training that is graded against doctrine by independent observers at every level from fire team on up, involving all of the war fighting functions to include logistics.

I think what you are talking about is personnel policy, and how we deal with discipline issues. I’m with everyone that says we should focus on war fighting skills and drop the wokeism, but it’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that service members are assaulting each other. Read the Ft Hood report.

Young Americans live in a consequence free world. Their values (or lack thereof) are simply inconsistent with military service.

The world America built enabled the greatest era of prosperity- for everyone- that the world has ever experienced by far. Ironically, it has created one of the most ungrateful generations we have ever seen.


Stop generalizing about the younger generation, yes some are very entitled, some are losers, but a great many are amazing young men and women that will be very successful in whatever they do. I’m very involved with these kids, I have two very successful sons and I can tell you that they have very strong, focused, intelligent friends that are going to do great things. Kids are a reflection on who raised them. Too many parents abdicate their responsibilities and wonder why their kids are fuck ups, and by the way our generation had just as many fuck ups. We made the society that is failing the next generation.


Clearly there are great individuals in every generation.

My kids are also successful (one will be commissioned as an Infantry officer in a few months, one works with kids with disabilities, one is disabled, and one is 12 so he mainly eats and tears up the bathroom).

We are talking about a societal trend. Yes, clearly the current generation was raised by their parents. Those parents grew up in a consequence free world.


You are proving my point your kids are squared away and going to be successful. You obviously are involved in their lives and are a good dad. What I’m saying is don’t generalize about an entire generation, this one has much to offer and I hope that our leaders will restore the faith that has been broken. If they can do that we may have a military that will attract the best the next generations have to offer.


Definitely on personnel issues, but that bleeds into the quality of training. I retired from the army within the last year; the training is much less rigorous and the validation held to a much lower standard than it was 25 years ago. From very fundamental things like D&C and physical fitness to complex maneuvers, it is readily apparent. The best are better than ever, but the average has been on a downward slide for decades.

No, I don’t have any specific evidence I can link you to, if your experience differs then trust that over some random guy on the internet.

I’ll admit, some of my perspective can be attributed to the jadedness and rosy memories that come with age, but I generally am pretty good at recognizing and setting aside my biases. The reasons for the slide are likely numerous and varied. Much of it is probably reflective of larger culture, but I don’t believe that’s insurmountable nor close to the biggest issue.

*edited for readability

Last edited 1 year ago by Hate_me

You and I must have been in the last hard class before it got easy.

I get it. The problem with recruiting isn’t the lack of hard training- Soldiers won’t know about that until they enlist- the problem is young Americans just don’s see what’s in it for them.

The value proposition of doing a few hard years in uniform so you can earn the respect of the folks back home simply isn’t there. Ideas like an America that is worth defending have eroded, and we have rewarded people for being lazy and stupid.


The size of the service has shrunk over time, and a higher percentage of recruits are drawn from the pool of people who see the tangible and intangible benefits in family members who have served – often asking their advice before talking to the recruiter. As more of those experiences are painted in a negative light, the most viable recruit becomes much less likely to raise his hand. The potential recruit often has some idea, if a biased one, about a lack of hard training. Hell, when someone is hell-bent on enlisting no matter what, I encourage either Air Force or (if I believe they’ll actually do the adequate prep) 18X. That silly hat still earns the respect of the folks back home.

I wouldn’t say mine was “the last hard class,” it was easier than expected. Thankfully, I did have many early mentors who knew their shit and knew how to pass it on. I’ve had some success with many of my own subordinates, but I cannot say I’ve done justice to the example set by those old men.


“Now they’re just trying to make it more appealing,”

Uh, yeah, that’s kinda what you need to do to get people to volunteer.


This might seem pedantic, but there’s significant difference between “just trying to make it more appealing” and trying to make it both more appealing and more capable.




Although there is a certain resemblance.
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Fair enough, but I was referring to how the services chose to adjust following those debacles. Granted, ending up in the same scenario 50 years later means we had already lost sight of many of those earlier improvements.

I posit, strongly, that the Army we had in the early 90s – thanks in great part to those post-Vietnam adjustments – was the best soldiery this country ever fielded. Somewhere in the last few decades (I point to Clinton’s drawdown), things slowly started to rot.


Whatever, Zoomer


The only reason the volunteer force survived was because of Regan. He made patriotism a thing again in spite of the Dems best tries (just like today) to shit all over America every day. He also gave huge catch up pay raises.


Just to pick a nit, there has never been any large interest in serving in the military. Even in peacetime. That’s why we needed conscription, even in peacetime, to maintain more than a minimal active military. That is why our volunteer military has been characterized by constantly increasing incentives (pay, bonuses, quality of life, etc.). There is, however, a limit, and we may have reached it.


When you say “never”, the only time in history I can think of was the start of the Civil War. That faded fast when it turned into a real war.

During WWII 75% of the 16,000,000 Americans who eventually served were volunteers. While an astonishing number that was the first time the country had been attacked directly since the Civil War.

What is interesting is that 52-60% of Democrats polled in the last few years said they would flee the country if it were attacked or invaded today.

Disgusting really. Almost makes one wish for an invasion to get them gone already.


What is interesting is that 52-60% of Democrats polled in the last few years said they would flee the country if it were attacked or invaded today.

True, but many of these are likely the same ones who swore they’d leave when Cankles lost.


“During WWII 75% of the 16,000,000 Americans who eventually served were volunteers.”

I am definitely not going to believe that without some serious documentation. Just 30 seconds of google got this–

“On December 5, 1942, presidential Executive Order 9279 closed voluntary enlistment for all men from the ages of 18 to 37 for the duration of the war, providing protection for the nation’s home front manpower pool. The Navy and Marine Corps began procuring their personnel through the Selective Service System in early 1943.”


You are correct, the site I got the other numbers from was incorrect.


I know it will be hard, but you should read a book. It’s called Prodigal Soldiers. It’s about how the military rebuilt following Vietnam, the end of the draft/AVF, and all of the problems that came with it.

With that being said, I don’t see any “leaders” in today’s military willing or able to put in the effort like that.

There were a few, but they saw the writing on the wall and retired. The current crop? Just hanging around long enough to ensure their seat on the board of directors at defense companies when they hang up the uniform.



Let me mention some Generation X people you never heard of because they aren’t politically relevant (to you):

Ron Desantis
Marco Rubio
Tim Scott
Ted Cruz
Tom Cotton
Chris Sununu
Rishi Sunak
Giorgia Meloni
Mateusz Morawiecki

Maybe some you may have heard of but are still not relevant (to you):

Tammy Duckworth
Cory Booker
Kristen Gillibrand
Justin Trudeau
Chris Hipkins
Emmanuel MacronPedro Sánchez Pérez-CastejónLeo VaradkarVolodymyr Zelenskyy (although technically not a Westerner)

Only the US in the Western World was allegedly dumb enough to elect a man that should by all counts being in a nursing home (and where is his physical anyway?) The PM of Germany is a boomer, but all the rest Gen X.

Again, always with the stupid.


Well, you know how it is:
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Jam a bunch of left wing wokeism in the military culture and expect normal people to volunteer for what already is an underpaid job. Yep that’ll increase our numbers.


That and our leadership lacks resolve. We get into conflicts that we probably shouldn’t and then we just quit leave a lot of our shit, pack up and go home. No one gives a damn about the kid who sacrificed years of his life,or the ones crippled and scarred for life. We haven’t finished a job since WW2. Now we alienate the people that have traditionally been the backbone with woke ideology and self hating rhetoric, huh no shit no one’s signing on. WTF this isn’t difficult to understand.


What conflict are you referring to? Who made the decision to get involved? Who put them in charge? What was the cost of WWII compared to the cost of recent conflicts? Why are they conflicts and not wars?


Doesn’t matter, these kids joined because they believed they were doing the right thing and making the world a better, safer place. The government sold a bill of goods, patriots answered the call as did generations before. This political and military leadership let them down and wiped away their achievements and gave everything including billions in equipment to the same people that were in charge in the first place, same shit happening as before.


It does matter. The people elected leaders, those leaders set policy based on what they think got them elected, and that policy got us into conflicts.

Everyone was pretty excited in 2001, and it was really cool to watch the Rangers jump into Afghanistan and the Thunder Run in Baghdad, but we kind of lost interest after that.

The military leadership does what the political leaders tell them. No one likes to hear that, but it’s the truth. An order from the President or SecDef is an order. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the policy. Don’t want to do it? They’ll get the next guy.


And now after the horrible job leadership has done no one wants to play anymore. It’s pretty basic, you need guys to show up, you don’t fuck them over get them killed and abandon the cause they fought for. Oh and by the way you then don’t introduce offensive political ideologies that run counter to what your country has supposedly stood for for centuries. Guess what? The only ones that are desperate enough to show up aren’t exactly cream of the crop.


What cause? Afghanistan? Both of the last two presidents wanted out.

I am Gen X. I saw military service as a path to honor and a way to give back to the nation I love. I saw it as a duty, which I perceived to be a good thing.

I learned that from my parents, who both grew up poor in the depression- Mom on a farm, Dad in a crappy small industrial town. People died young, kids went hungry, and everyone talked about how great it was. Their brothers (and Dad) fought in WWII or Korea, and they talked about Service.

Skip two generations.

The current military age generation has lived in one of the most prosperous eras in human history, raised by parents that came of age in an even more prosperous era.

They have the perceived luxury of deciding whether or not to work- and they are excused. They don’t even have the same concept of a nation.


Far too much generalization. Yes some of this generation is fucked up as was some of yours and mine. The problem is that the quality people that make any organization successful are not interested in this circus we call a military. And yes I’m talking about Afghanistan this last generation sent some of its best young people into a conflict that was billed as good vs evil and protecting our country from another 9/11 and so many other tropes. These fine young people did everything asked of them and more, suffered and sacrificed what should have been the best time of their lives, they were wounded and killed for an ideal the same one you and I joined for. Why shouldn’t they be angry and disillusioned and why wouldn’t that sentiment be shared with the next generation? Now we inject politics into an already compromised institution and no shit, guess what? No one’s interested anymore. This is a reaction to bad decisions made by leaders that don’t even pretend to care.


Seems like you are agreeing with me. Military values are no longer consistent with those of America’s youth.


A large part of American youth would love to serve in a tough, demanding, challenging, military. I call them traditional recruits athletic, adventurous, and patriotic. They are not joining because of the previously mentioned issues and also a drop in standards. America has no shortage of great youth many grew up wanting to serve, they aren’t stupid they see recent events and also talk to their friends that did join, they’re not getting any positive feedback from that group of people and veterans are also saying stay away it’s not what it was. The military has a culture problem it’s trying to be a jobs program and not a proud group of warriors.
The perception is it’s becoming a place to go if you don’t have many opportunities. The problem isn’t the generation it’s we don’t hold the military in high esteem and lately it hasn’t earned much.


Not really. They do what the Executive says, sure. The Congress gave up their power years ago and they simply try to influence things like getting contracts in their district and maybe a plum like Space Command.

This means they are no longer accountable to the people, but to whatever party holds the White House.


You are all over the map. Does Congress have power or not? They write the NDAA, which dictates most of the policy you are talking about mainly by appropriating funds (or not). I mean, didn’t we just go through a big deal where the House changed hands?

They also declare war, which we haven’t done in a bit. We have, however, had Congressional authorizations for the use of military force as per the War Powers Act. We still kill people overseas (to include US Citizens) based on the 2001 AUMF (in retaliation to 9/11). Congress could cancel that any time…

I think you are talking about the Space Force. SPACECOM existed in like the ’80s to 2015 or something, then it came back a few years ago. USSF is a service, SPACECOM is a combatant command. The Space Force was Trump’s idea.


The NDAA is written by defense contractors and lobbyists. Congress critters simply rubber stamp it without even reading it. It’s mostly about trading favors and has little to do with protecting the country.

The War Powers Act? Really? That thing has been violated more than a barracks whore on a Saturday night. Obama into Syria and Libya, Bush II in Iraq, Clinton in Bosnia, and let’s not forget how we got it in the first place. All with zero repercussions for the executive. What use is a law that no one enforces? If you said; none at all, there is a prize waiting for you.

Besides if the President can invade another country and commit other acts of war for 48 hours without even telling Congress he has put the country at war, declared or not. Therefore he has the defacto power to take the country to war unilaterally.

No, I meant what I wrote, SPACECOM. There were six different congressional districts competing for that plum in 2019, including mine. It’s all about the dollaz.


“That and our leadership lacks resolve . . . then we just quit leave a lot of our shit, pack up and go home. No one gives a damn about the kid who sacrificed years of his life,or the ones crippled and scarred for life.”

Says it all. I enlisted in 1970. If I were 18 again today, I’d tell the recruiter to kiss my grits.

The Republic is circling the drain, and the quisling Usurper in the Oval Office is a ChiCom agent.


TodAys suggested reading list. Crisis of command.


For inspiration in addressing that trend, I recommend Prodigal Soldiers, by James Kitfield.


Thank God I retired in 2017 with full retirement benefits. Would not recommend servicing now beyond 4 years to get schooling done.



Army Referral.jpg

Is that for real? That’s fucked up. Especially the MSM for 5 referrals. However, I don’t think they’ll be issuing out many of those because 5 is a lot of folks to convince to enlist.


It’s fake. It was allegedly posted on the Puerto Rican NG site, which doesn’t even make any sense but it’s fake.

What is real is this:

So you can move all the way up to E4 with three referrals that join. That would be a real challenge but the money incentive is huge. An E4 with 0 years makes about $700/mo more than an E1 with 0. If that follows you through a successful 20 year career by starting at E4 you could be looking at well over a $100K extra over the life of your career or $20K for a 4 year enlistment.

A Proud Infidel®™

The Drill Sergeants of my day called that the “Fuck Your Buddy Program”!


May be.


They were giving out promotions for referring a friend when I enlisted under Slick Willy (my buddy never thanked me for his mosquito wings). I don’t have an issue with the AAM.

Anything higher is just an insult to everyone who has ever earned an ARCOM or MSM.


“I got my ARCOM for achievements in combat operations in Afghanistan. How’d you get yours?”

“Referred three friends to Boot Camp.”


Not a full lousy 401k… you still get the 20 year annuity (just a lesser one) but, if you put $$$ away properly, you get that annuity plus the matched 401k. If you get out before 20, you only get that 401k. Sucks if you’d rather have beer money and just do 12, etc.– many won’t do the work.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
Only Army Mom

I have a quasi-hopeful thought –
Most of the current generation that could qualify for the Armed Forces won’t enlist because they are rejecting the wokeism, faux-compassionate society, “America is not exceptional”, victimhood-as-virtue rhetoric of the Loonie-Left. It’s hard enough in schools and universities to get around or away from that b.s. but in the military, there would be no escape.

The hope is at some point these Loonie-Leftists, the weakest members of the herd, will be thinned by natural selection. They’ve already made a good start by either being incapable of, by self-selection primarily, procreation, or by rejection by those who desire self-sufficiency as a trait in chosen partners. Here’s looking at you, all you soi-boi incels. Please, have another free-range, vegan, soy latte and further reduce your infinitesimal male reproduction hormone levels as you cry with your granola-breath girlies with more body hair than you about evil toxic masculinity.


I hope you’re right, OAM. I just am not particularly sanguine about it.

Everything I understand about adaptation and evolution suggests otherwise; socially, physically, and culturally, we adjust against the stressors we face. There is no agency to it, and short-term fixes trump any long-term ideal.

Sadly, the easiest way to thrive among much of popular society today (in other words, the easiest way to build a social group, find a willing partner, and accomplish all those other things we are driven to do as social animals) is to adopt the same trends as that popular society. There are still enclaves that encourage men to be men, but the benefits of those vegan soy lattes are much easier to come by.


Ignoring for a moment that Stu writes at the level of a jr college freshman, he has no real point. Is he saying we need a war to solve our recruiting crisis?

Keep in mind that ‘wokeism’ is everywhere- the military reflects society…

He also seems unaware that we have civilian control of the military, and that control is exercised by the president with the oversight of Congress. The fact that Members have no military experience is a feature, not a bug.

RCD needs to hire some editors.


I see you’re still trying to walk on water. You’re failing. Miserably.


I see you’re still incapable of making a salient point. If it makes you happy…


It’s neither feature nor bug. It’s simply recognition that the military serves national interest. How much military experience the civilian leadership has is based on circumstances far outside the purview of that concept.


Boils down to leadership. Properly led/motivated soldiers will follow the right leader thru the very gates of Hell, fight til Hell freezes over, and then fight ’em on he ice. History is replete with examples…Jackson’s Foot Cavalry marching 25/30 miles a day, in the heat, then going straight into battle and carrying the day. Bobby Lee’s ANV Troops staying with him tho they are starving and freezing to death. The Butcher Grant shoving thousands into the meat grinder, they stayed to “see this thing thru”. ‘Cump Sherman’s boys going into the abyss of his march thru GA when all of the politicians and news media were saying his army would disappear in the swamps and piney woods.

A soldier doesn’t necessarily fight for God, Country, The Flag, Mom, Apple Pie, or the girl next door, but he will fight like Hell for a good leader…and his Battle Buddies. The destruction of the American Military is another step in the destruction of America.


The problem is getting people into a uniform where all that wondrous leadership can motivate them. And wondrous leadership is pretty rare. Once you get folks into a uniform, even mediocre leadership keeps the organization running. And let’s face facts folks, mediocre leadership is the best we can expect in the real world.


  1. Of ordinary or undistinguished quality. synonym: average.
  2. Of a middle quality; of but a moderate or low degree of excellence; indifferent; ordinary.
  3. Ordinary: not extraordinary; not special, exceptional, or great; of medium quality; “

Que pasa?
my comment vanished


Agreed, but practically no one joins the military to work for an inspiring leader in the last 130 years or a battle buddy.


Such things affect staying:


The problem is not leadership, it is geting people into a uniform; once they are in uniform that wondrous leadership can do its thing. And to add a little more rain to the parade, good leadership is rare; don’t count on it. Most of it is mediocre at best. But, the good news is that once you get folks into a uniform, mediocre leadership is all you need to keep an organization running.

You can’t lead troops, properly or not, until you have them in a uniform where they can be led.


How out of options do you have to be to join today’s military? What are they offering? It’s a shit show and everyone knows it. If something doesn’t change we can just rebrand mediocre as exceptional and pat everyone on the back.


Why Soldiers enlist and why they fight are two different things. They enlist for a cause, in the end they fight for the man next to them.

The cause is the question here. In your examples, both sides had a cause (obviously Lee and his boys were wrong, but that is for another thread).

In the Great War and WWII, the cause as understood at the time was standing up to tyranny and evil.

What is the cause in the Post War era? Through military power America established and maintained a world order that has caused the longest period of prosperity for the entire world, but the general attitude today is that we are oppressing people for oil.

It’s hard for most young people to get on board with that, even if it is not true. That, and the horrible scenes they’ve ‘witnessed (Afghanistan) and the culture they’ve heard about (Ft Hood), makes them decide that McDonalds is a better option for a minimum wage job with college benefits.


“The cost of a volunteer army, properly calculated, would almost surely be less than of a conscripted army.”

“…properly calculated…”

‘Aye, there’s the rub’.
Sorry, Milton, I love your work but we are parting ways on this one.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

I’m a member of the silent majority and we had the draft back then untill things changed about getting people to join up. Will we go back to the draft????? Will see what happens.


Without a draft we are finished. I won’t be here to see it.


Biden has 2-6 more years to further tank the economy. Recruits will volunteer.


Not the type you want. Smart kids have options, you’ll always be able to get the dumb ones although you might have to wave arrests, drug use, and a high school diploma.
Even in a down economy smart people find options and they aren’t coming to the military.


In my experience (for whatever that’s worth), the reason someone enlists is largely irrelevant – the real difference between great and shit troops is reflected in why they re-up.

Leadership has little control over the recruits they receive. They are second only to the soldier, himself, in building a proud soldier willing to make it a career.

Some uncarved blocks come with knots. When better blocks aren’t available, the woodcarver is still expected to carve. No one is untrainable.


The one enlistment E1-4 are the vast majority of each service and you have no military without them. Certainly can’t fight a war without them.


If the kids don’t show up the lifers have no one to play with, and apparently they’re not interested especially the good ones. Things need to change and military has to mean military again. High standards discipline, cutting lifer dead wood and creating a true warrior ethic. You need to actually attract elite talented people not use the words. We are going to war with China or at least some kind of conflict soon and right now we are not building warriors and way to many are going to die. The most important part of the military isn’t the careerist it’s the non rate and junior NCO they are the ones who are going to do the majority of the suffering and the quality of those people is going to be the difference between winning and losing.


I’m not arguing that.

However, the same esprit de corps and command climate that motivates the most determined to stay in will also drive the less determined to perform better as long as they’re in uniform.

Recruitment and retention, though often confused as they both contribute to end-strength, are considerably different animals.

I (blissfully) never had to deal with the recruitment aspect, and I can only speculate on that. Yes, a soldier needs to serve before he can serve longer. If I knew how to talk to today’s young civilian population, I’d be in bed with some cute little co-ed instead of wasting time on this forum.

However, I (like many here) have seen plenty of troops make the decision to stay or leave. While everyone has their own unique drivers behind their decision, pride in the job has always been a huge driver for those who stay while shame or even ambivalence in the patch on their shoulder is a massive indicator that they’ll leave. We make “the good ones.”


I have two kids,one is a college athlete one in a prestigious law school who was a standout high school athlete both at one time wanted to serve, both have incredible work ethics, both have been incredibly disillusioned with the military and the state of our country. They have incredibly talented friends and teammates that feel similarly, this generation has incredible young people that would love to serve and are beyond upset with the country we are leaving them. I was nothing special just a Marine staff sergeant that did and went where he was told no combat experience joined out of love of country and always wanted to be a Marine, did my best and still fondly remember my service and the lifelong friendships. I am pissed that my kids will not have the opportunity to serve in the type of military we used to have. I’m upset that patriotism is no longer a part of serving I’m pissed that our standards have changed and that military service isn’t considered a good option anymore. WTF.


I concur and I feel your pain.

I don’t have a son. As proud as I am of my own service and as much as it benefited me, I could never recommend that any capable young man join today’s military.

Hopefully, tomorrow’s military will be a better legacy… but that is entirely in the hands of today’s leaders.

Veritas Omnia Vincit

Our society has changed, our military has not. The decline of volunteers will continue as it has for decades now…

3.5 Million personnel in the military in 1968 to 1.4 million, 18% of the population in 1980 were veterans, today that number is about 7% and with us older vets dropping dead over the next 23 years by 2046 there will be a 35% drop in the total number of veterans in the population.

I believe my daughter is a classic example of what happens to someone who intended to work 20+ in the military but thanks to shit deals left after 8…deployed twice, with a security clearance, but once back from deployment no longer treated as an important asset she’s taken her security clearance to the private sector for a 300% increase in salary with full benefits for her and her family.

This shit is not rocket science, treat people like crap, make the treating of people like crap a public reality reported ad infinitum in the media, and reap the rewards.


I wanted to retire, but after ten years, and three deployments to Iraq (not to mention the election of JugEars in ’08, I had enough.


Every couple of years, I rewatch the entire series of Cheers. Great show, and I just restarted season 1 last week.

There’s an episode where an old doughboy shows up for his unit’s regular 10yr reunion. Ultimately, no one else shows up and it’s clear he’s the last one standing. Trying to bond with him, the staff and regulars point out how Norm was an army vet, Coach was navy, and Sam had been a reservist (earning a chuckle from the audience). Norm’s and Coach’s service is only mentioned a few times throughout all the seasons of the show, and it’s never a defining element of their characters.

Yes. Society has certainly changed.


I’m not directly involved with recruiting, but I work closely with folks that do at the strategic level. The Army and all the services have seen this coming for years.

Part of this is marketing, part is the economy (there is a sad truth that what is good for the country is bad for recruiting, and vice versa).

It is fun to blame woke policy or bad decisions like the Afghan withdrawal, but the truth is we just spent three years or so paying people not to work and underwriting their bad financial decisions. Why would anyone sign up for a tough, thankless, low paying job?

Most of us in this discussion joined out of what I would describe as a calling to a higher purpose- service to the nation. Some were looking for adventure and challenge. The benefits made it very attractive.

Our current military aged generation was born after 9/11, few have relatives that served or were personally impacted by the wars, and are more concerned with their concept of social justice.


Most kids don’t give a rats ass about social justice. In colleges these are the weird kids that only other weird kids like. My kids and their friends have been ripping on them since high school. And yes they have had to deal with woke teachers and guess what? They write what they need to get great grades and graduate into high paying jobs and out earn their d bag teachers in a very short time. Problem with the military is you’re a captive audience with no reward at the end