By 2020, the U.S. Army wants 500,000 active duty personnel.
This demand comes in the middle of saber-rattling with Iran near the Strait of Hormuz and a potential confrontation with China in the South China Sea.
The Army Times reports that the army is facing considerable problems in recruiting troops to a large number of “unhealthy, ineligible millennials” according to a ZeroHedge report.
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said “It’s a difficult market because it’s a very healthy job market.”
He added, “This environment is as challenging as we’ve faced- 3.6% unemployment. We have no benchmark historically for the all-volunteer force.”
McCarthy admitted to the Times that reaching this recruitment goal by the end of the year would be a tall order.
The Acting Army Secretary said “We are on target, but it’s close.”
However, McCarthy does not see this goal as a walk in the park.
“We, statistically, can make it, but we’re going to have to run through the finish line- undoubtedly a full sprint.”
The Army Secretary said that Army officials are reaching out to municipalities across the country to boost recruitment at the local level.
Army leadership has been shocked with how the booming economy is affecting recruitment numbers.
They also acknowledge other factors at play behind the lackluster recruitment performance.
McCarthy claims “That’s coupled with all the other factors we talk about all the time: obesity, mental health, challenges with law enforcement. Things of that nature that would require waivers.”
The Army’s current recruitment issues would not be a problem with a more non-interventionist policy that actually focuses on national defense. Such a foreign policy would not require as many resources and would not have branches of the military like the Army struggling to meet recruitment goals.
Despite Trump’s efforts to put America on a more non-interventionist path, powerful interest groups like the military-industrial complex still have considerable pull in DC.
Indeed, they are the true Deep State, which does all it can to stay in power and ultimately calls the shots no matter who’s in charge.
That’s why interventionists like national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are pushing for regime change in Iran and Venezuela despite President Trump campaigning on a restrained foreign policy.
As long as neoconservatives have considerable pull in the Trump administration, there will always be a strong temptation to get Trump mired in some kind of conflict.