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The Army has seen a decline in White recruits over the past decade, a part of the military branch’s historic overall recruiting woes that have leadership concerned, according to data reviewed by 

A total of 44,042 new Army recruits were categorized by the service as White in 2018. However, that number fell each year to a low of 25,070 in 2023, with a 6% dip from 2022 to 2023, the news outlet reported. 

During that same five-year period, Black recruits rose from 20% to 24%, and Hispanics increased from 17% to 24%.

The drop in White recruits isn’t easily explained, Army officials explained. 


U.S. Armed Recruiting station at Times Square in New York City.  (Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images/File)

Data experts and Army officials interviewed by the news outlet said the demographic trend points to a number of issues, including growing obesity rates among military-age Americans, an underfunded public education system, and partisan scrutiny of the Army itself. 

Last year, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told reporters that critiques of the service being “woke” added to its recruiting woes. 

“We are a ready Army, not a ‘woke’ Army,” she said, according to a report in Task & Purpose. “That’s something, frankly, the chief [Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville] and I said throughout posture season in hearings, in meetings with members of Congress.”

One Army official pointed to attacks from conservative lawmakers and media, who have accused the service of prioritizing inclusion efforts rather than its war-fighting capabilities. Some of the policies include being more inclusive of women and service members from racial minority groups and LGBTQ+ troops.


military army

Students of an Army prep course stand at attention after physical training exercises at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. The Army is struggling to meet recruitment goals.  (AP Photo/Sean Rayford/File)

“No, the young applicants don’t care about this stuff. But the older people in their life do, who have a lot of influence … parents, coaches, pastors,” one Army official told “There’s a level of prestige in parts of conservative America with service that has degraded. Now, you can say you don’t want to join, for whatever reason, or bad-mouth the service without any cultural guilt associated for the first time in those areas.”

The Army said various factors, “including a robust civilian labor market and declining eligibility, the present recruitment environment continues to challenge the Army and the Department of Defense.”

“In response to these conditions, the Department of the Army leadership has launched the most significant transformation of the recruiting enterprise since the inception of the all-volunteer force more than fifty years ago,” a statement to Fox News Digital states. “The Army remains committed to competing for and securing the best of American talent. Our marketing and outreach efforts focus on telling the Army’s story to the broadest possible audience to ensure that Americans across the country understand what a career in the United States Army can mean for them. The Army will continue to position itself as an employer of choice for young Americans, just as we have for nearly half a century.”

One Army official told that recruiting efforts were mimicking trends in the private sector. 

“What we’re seeing is a reflection of society; what we know less of is what is driving all of these things,” one Army official told “There is no widely accepted cause.”

Fort Carson Soldiers

Army soldiers at Fort Carson, Colo., participate in a two-mile installation run. (Department of Defense/File)


In an effort to increase the number of troops, the Army recently went back to its nostalgic slogan “Be All You Can Be.” 

One ad that was harshly criticized was a 2022 ad titled: “The Calling,” featuring a real-life soldier who has two mothers.

The Army is now seeking structural changes in how it recruits soldiers, including new career fields aimed at putting the right recruits to help fill the ranks.

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