President Joe Biden has a huge recruitment problem in the United States military.
To encourage more people to join the Air Force, military officials secretly increased the maximum age of registration from 39 to 42 last month.
The new age criteria in the Air Force and Space Force apply to both officer and enlisted ranks.
“The Air Force made this change to align with [Department of Defense] policy,” Leslie Brown, the chief of public affairs for the Air Force Recruiting Service, told Military.com on Oct. 26.
“This opens the aperture to allow more Americans the opportunity to serve,” she continued.
“The accession age of 42 allows an Airman or Guardian to serve a full 20 years, since the retirement age is 62,” Brown said.
According to Air Force officials, the shift will result in the enrollment of around 50 recruits per year, as well as the option to re-enlist individuals who were forced to retire.
“AFRS recently discharged 12 members from the delayed entry program who ‘aged out’ due to the processing timeline,” Brown said.
“Recruiters will be contacting them and others who may have left processing due to age,” she said.
The new rules take effect roughly a month after the Air Force revealed that it had fallen short of its active-duty recruitment targets for the first time in more than two decades.
The Army, Air Force, and Navy all fell short of their fiscal 2023 recruitment targets.
Other military organizations have adopted the Air Force’s new plan, including the Navy, which raised its maximum enlistment age from 39 to 41 in November 2022.
Navy officials admitted the change was made to “widen the pool of potential recruits, creating opportunities for personnel who wish to serve, but were previously unable due to age,” USNI News reported at the time.
The United States military’s recruitment issues are linked to diminishing interest and suitability for service within the critical age range for enlistment.
According to a 2020 study, about 77 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 would be ineligible for duty without special exemptions. According to the survey, 11% of this age group would be rejected merely based on their weight.
Meanwhile, conservatives argue that the military’s recruiting problems are the product of an institutional push toward liberalism.
According to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation’s 2022 National Defense Survey, only 48% of participants have great trust and confidence in the military, a 22% fall from 2018.
In June, a Gallup poll indicated that American public trust in the military had plummeted to its lowest level in more than 25 years.