(TPM) – The US military is facing what some have called the “most challenging recruiting year ever,” as every branch struggles to bring in new members.

Officials have blamed lack of ability and desire among American youth for the shortage in applicants.

According to NBC, the US military is far from reaching its recruitment goals for 2022.

With the fiscal year ending on September 30, the US Army has only fulfilled 40 percent of its recruiting mission. The US Air Force is also facing an uphill battle to reach its goal.
The US Navy, on the other hand, is expected to recruit enough members.

A survey sent out by the Pentagon showed that only 23 percent of Americans 17-24 are “qualified to serve without a waiver,” and of those only 9 percent “had any inclination to do so.”

The survey also found that over half of those surveyed thought they would suffer emotional or psychological damage if they decided to serve.

Speaking with NewsNation’s Morning in America, former US Air Force Assistant Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Richard Newton offered an explanation.

“The pool of those who we need to recruit, and retain frankly, is shrinking,” he said, noting that obesity, criminality, and drug issues have increased in recent years.

“It’s not just the military recruiting aspect,” Newton added, “it’s cultural, it’s societal.” He noted that many officials have deemed 2022 to be the “most challenging recruiting year ever.”

He dismissed the idea that America would return to a draft system, which it had prior to 1973, but suggested that the reduction in recruitment should serve as a “wake up call” for the military and politicians alike.

The US military has taken measures to attract a wider swath of young Americans. As Military.com reports, the army is doing away with their high school diploma requirement, and relaxing other physical standards.

They have also explored using social media platforms such as TikTok to influence young people, however whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen.