The Pentagon is planning to alter part of its military entrance exam, making it easier for potential recruits to join the U.S. armed forces, according to a new report.
On Friday, Military.com reported that the Defense Department will allow potential recruits to use a calculator on the agency’s entrance exam. Known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, the test “gauges academic aptitude and dictates what jobs in the military, if any, they are qualified for,” according to the outlet. It remains unclear when the change to the ASVAB will go into effect.
“We are taking a systematic approach, which will assess the impact of calculator use, and we are developing a way forward for calculator inclusion,” a Pentagon representative told Military.com.
The department’s reported change in testing policy is hardly the only instance in which the military has lowered its entrance standards to accommodate a larger swath of previously unqualified candidates for service. In June 2022, the Army gutted a branch policy requiring potential recruits to have “a high school diploma or GED certificate to enlist in the service.” A few months later, the Navy separately announced it would be lowering its admittance standards to allow those “who have lower scores on part of the entrance exam used to gauge a recruit’s ability to serve” into service.
The Defense Department’s continual lowering of entrance standards comes amid a recruiting crisis for U.S. military branches. In April, the Military Times reported the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Army are projecting recruiting shortfalls in the “thousands” this year. While the Air Force is estimated to fall roughly 3,400 recruits short of its goal, the Navy and Army are projected to miss theirs by 6,000 and 10,000, respectively.
The crisis has gotten so bad that Navy leadership recently turned to Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, an active-duty drag queen who goes by the stage name Harpy Daniels and identifies as nonbinary, to be a “Navy Digital Ambassador.” The program, which ran from October 2022 to March 2023, was reportedly “designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates” for military recruitment.
While factors such as poor fitness levels among potential recruits could be contributing to the Pentagon’s recruiting crisis, another likely reason is the Biden administration’s embrace of DEI ideology throughout the military. DEI, which stands for “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” is a divisive ideology that dismisses merit and discriminates based on characteristics such as race and sexual orientation.
Since Biden took office, the Pentagon has routinely mandated that its leadership advance DEI throughout its ranks. This promotion of so-called “diversity” and “inclusion” has often included preferential treatment for self-identifying LGBT soldiers. In May, for example, the Air Force authorized its military bases to host events commemorating “pride month.” Nearly a month later, the branch authorized the use of U.S. taxpayer funds to fly service members to its “pride” events in Washington, D.C.
Biden has also tapped numerous military leaders who have embraced DEI for high-ranking positions within the service. For example, the Democrat president recently nominated Col. Benjamin Jonsson, a DEI advocate, to become a brigadier general.
Shortly after the May 2020 death of George Floyd, Jonsson penned an article in the Air Force Times in which he claimed “white colonels” are the “biggest barriers” to addressing so-called “racial injustice” in the military. Jonsson furthermore encouraged his fellow “white” service members to read Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, a book that promotes divisive ideologies such as critical race theory.
Attempts by congressional Republicans to rid the U.S. military of DEI have been met with resistance from the Biden administration, which has defended such policies by baselessly claiming they “promote a cohesive and inclusive force.”