Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen headlines talking about the plummeting rates of our military recruitment. Even The Nation called it a crisis as America’s active duty and reserve personnel numbers continued to thin out. So, with all these, should we start thinking about hiring foreigners to fight for our freedom?

According to Arshan Barzani, an officer in the Army Reserve and student at Yale Law School, it is possible to explore this option. However, the current status of army recruitment has been at its worst since 1973. Multiple factors can be attributed to this decline, including more promising opportunities in the private sector. Moreover, aside from the higher pay, work-life balance, and of course, lesser risk of being called into battle, there are also other reasons why Americans can’t join the military, including criminal records, poor health, and drug use.

According to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, this is becoming an extremely serious matter. As a result, the DoD is reportedly meeting with officials and other world leaders to discuss possible solutions to the issue.

“This is the start of a long drought for military recruiting,” said Ret. Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr of the Heritage Foundation, a think tank.

Oath of Enlistment
Oath of Enlistment – US Army (Source: mark6mauno/Wikimedia)

As the pool of those eligible to join the military shrinks, younger men and women are opting for more secure jobs as they redefine what it means to try to reach the “American dream.”

Another survey found that only 9% of young Americans eligible to join are willing to enlist in the military. This number is the lowest since 2007. This figure shows us how the public, especially the younger generation, is not exposed to the military culture anymore. With a good deal of content on social media showcasing lavish lifestyles and dance crazes, fewer and fewer pieces of content get to really explore the value of serving the motherland.

Many are also citing the previous stories from veterans who had experienced PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, and suicide. With these cases, many are becoming more and more cautious about the aftermath of joining the service.

“They think they’re going to be physically or emotionally broken after serving,” said one senior US military official familiar with the recruiting issues, who believes a lack of familiarity with military service contributes to that perception.