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Tags: tiktok | army | recruiting crisis | complaints

Report: TikTok Rebellion Ensues Amid Army Recruiting Crisis

By    |   Monday, 18 December 2023 07:44 PM EST

The U.S. Army is grappling with an unexpected challenge: a recruiting crisis burgeoned, in part, by service members who use TikTok.

Generation Z recruits, those born between 1997 and 2012, are using the social media platform to openly criticize aspects of military life, the Daily Mail reported Sunday. The criticisms range from complaints about low pay and substandard food to grievances about fitness tests. The digital dissent comes amid an ongoing recruitment crisis, which the Army cites as falling short by 25% of its intended target last year.

One particularly viral post by Anthony Laster, a military influencer from Chicago with more than a million TikTok followers, garnered more than 600,000 views. In it, Laster, dressed in his uniform, lambasted Army life for offering "No Privacy, The Pay Sucks, [expletive] Food, Disrespectful Leadership, NO SLEEP!"

In another post, Laster claimed he spent his entire day watching TikToks while supposedly fighting the Taliban.

The Army's recruitment shortfall for 2023 is projected to be about 15,000, far below its goal of 65,000 recruits. This trend is echoed in the Navy and Air Force, which are also expected to miss their recruitment goals.

Pentagon data reveals a decline in the appeal of military service among young people, with only 9% of those ages 16 to 21 considering it, a drop of 13% from pre-pandemic levels. Critics have pointed fingers at the military's "woke" advertising campaigns, which emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and events such as drag shows, as potentially alienating traditional recruits.

Amid this tumult, the Army is striving to become a "model example of diversity, equality, and inclusion," a goal endorsed by the White House. However, it faces another significant challenge: a fitness crisis. About 23% of soldiers were classified as obese in 2021, and officials are now scrambling to implement weight loss and exercise regimens to address the issue.

On TikTok, discontented officers are advising potential recruits to reconsider their decision to enlist. Their complaints range from stringent weight requirements and harsh treatment from superiors to performing menial tasks instead of engaging in combat. Shemar Williams, another young recruit with a substantial TikTok following, lamented inadequate pay, lack of autonomy, and sacrifices in family life.

Adding to the financial strain, more than 20,000 active-duty troops reportedly rely on food stamps. Another recruit, identified only as Gammage, warned potential enlistees about the physical and mental demands of military life, including strict weight regulations and the stigma associated with injuries.

Fitness and health are not just barriers to recruitment but continue to be issues once recruits are enlisted. More than half of American young adults are reportedly overweight or obese, further complicating the recruitment process. Generals have even termed the fitness crisis a threat to national security.

Calley Means, a former consultant for Coca-Cola, agreed that health is one of the biggest national security concerns, but said in a podcast how lobbying efforts were made to get soda and other processed foods containing seed oils on food stamps, which in turn would lead to more obesity but be profitable for the health care and food industries.

But focusing their intention on TikTok, an official from the Department of Defense (DoD) emphasized to the Daily Mail the social media platform was never authorized for use on government-issued devices and highlighted the DoD's efforts to educate personnel on cyber awareness and the appropriate use of mobile applications.

"In accordance with Division R, Section 102 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023," the official said, "U.S. Cyber Command acting through Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, directed all combatant commands, military services, defense agencies, and DoD field activities to remove TikTok from all government-funded equipment and prohibit users from downloading or accessing the application on government-funded equipment."

Nick Koutsobinas

Nick Koutsobinas, a Newsmax writer, has years of news reporting experience. A graduate from Missouri State University’s philosophy program, he focuses on exposing corruption and censorship.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The U.S. Army is grappling with an unexpected challenge: a recruiting crisis burgeoned, in part, by service members who use TikTok.
tiktok, army, recruiting crisis, complaints
Monday, 18 December 2023 07:44 PM
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