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Less and less people are interested to join the Air Force amid recruiting crisis, nearly 50% less qualified applicants

In the midst of a historic military recruiting crisis and a push to increase campus diversity, the Air Force Academy has experienced a precipitous decline in the number of candidates interested in joining the institution.

According to admissions records acquired by Breitbart News, the number of applications to The Air Force Academy decreased by 28% this year compared to the previous year. There were 11,615 applications in 2021. This number decreased to 8,393 in 2022.

According to the figures, the percentage of “qualified applicants” recorded by the school dropped by an alarming 46%. There were 3,279 qualifying applicants in 2021. There were just 1,775 qualifying applicants in 2022.

However, from 2021 to 2022, there were only roughly 100 fewer actual offers of admission, indicating a much less competitive selection procedure and poorer quality recruits for an institution renowned for producing Air Force pilots.

According to a former academy administrator, the lack of interest comes despite the Air Force Academy’s efforts to increase the “diversity” of its candidates by 10 percent.

The decline in interest is attributed by academy authorities to the coronavirus outbreak. The academy’s director of admissions, Air Force Col. Arthur Primas Jr., stated in a statement to Breitbart News:

The Academy believes that cancellation of in-person recruiting and information events across the nation and at the Academy during the height of the pandemic, while a prudent health and safety concern, impacted the overall number of applications for the Class of 2026. With the return of in-person recruiting and information events we are already up nearly 1,700 applications from this point last year.

However, academy leaders privately concede that the difficulties are deeper than that, with a dwindling pool of competent individuals and an even smaller pool of those who desire to serve in the military – a trend that is harming military recruiting across the board for almost all branches.

Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism in the Services (STARRS), a non-profit organization founded by retired Air Force generals and Air Force Academy graduates, contends that the spread of critical race theory and other divisive political agendas within the military is having a significant impact.

Mike Rose, a graduate of the academy and executive vice president and general counsel at STARRS, stated in an email, “A major factor for the fall in applicants, which the Academy refuses to accept, is that the AFA’s culture has shifted to encourage racial and extreme leftist views.”

In an interview with Breitbart News, STARRS Director of Operations Matthew Lohmeier, a former Space Force lieutenant colonel and Air Force Academy graduate, stated that parents have told him and others at STARRS that they are turned off by the academy’s embrace of CRT. Parents are among the top influencers for military service.

He stated, for instance, that cadets at the Air Force Academy now function as political commissars to guarantee that diversity and inclusion trainings are completed and their standards are enforced. Cadets wear specific braided ropes so that other cadets may quickly recognize them as individuals with whom they can discuss race and identity concerns and file complaints.

Lohmeier also referenced former academy track and field coach Dana Lyon, who told STARRS that the school lost five exceptional female athlete prospects because they and their families were “extremely worried” about the future of the defense department and recent events.

This news item contained congressional hearings in which top military officers advocated critical race theory education. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated after one session that he want to understand more about “white anger” – a phrase utilized by critical race theorists. In another hearing, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday defended the inclusion of Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist on his recommended reading list for all sailors.

According to Lohmeier, these hearings eroded confidence in the military’s leadership.

There began to be from that moment forward, a loss of trust and confidence in our senior military leaders that we’ve never quite experienced before as a country. The American people got to see firsthand how the culture of the United States military was rapidly changing, celebrating values that the majority of American people don’t celebrate themselves and teaching ideology in place of focusing on duty, honor, and country.

In fact, a December 2021 Ronald Reagan Institute study revealed that Americans’ trust in the U.S. military has decreased by 11 percentage points under President Joe Biden since February 2021.

In addition, the study revealed that just 45 percent of Americans have a great lot of faith and confidence in the military, with confidence declining among Republicans by 34 points, Independents by 28 points, and Democrats by 17 points since 2018.

In addition, a January 2022 Gallup poll revealed that the public’s perception of the ethics of military commanders has declined, particularly among Republicans.

“The American people sense that the more you politicize the armed forces, the more potential there is that you’ll have division, not unity, and you’ll lose focus on the mission that you’re actually supposed to be accomplishing,” said Lohmeier.

Lohmeier left the Air Force after being dismissed from his position as commander of the 11th Space Warning Squadron for authoring a book and speaking out against the rise of Marxism inside the service. With STARRS, he has maintained his fight against Marxism in the military.

STARRS was established in the summer of 2020, after the Air Force Academy football team released a three-minute video advocating Black Lives Matter and racist talking points. A number of graduates, including retired Air Force Lieutenant General Rod Bishop, the current chairman of the STARRS Board of Directors, confronted the academy’s administration with their concerns.

After they continued to communicate their concerns to the new Air Force Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, a new film was published that, according to STARR, had “woke” propaganda but was a “huge improvement” over the prior pro-BLM movie.

Since then, the ensemble has undertaken new endeavors. 30 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have been made by STARRS about allegations of systematic racism and diversity and inclusion trainings at the military service academies and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Lohmeier stated that the majority of inquiries remain ignored or unresolved.

“Overall, the founders intend STARRS to become a dynamic and influential force to promote balance, unity, and adherence to the US Constitution and to prevent the politicization of the service academies and the Department of Defense,” its website states.

“We envision service academies and armed forces that shall always faithfully serve the American people while remaining apolitical, colorblind and unified,” it states.

Director of Admissions at the Air Force Institution, Primas, praised diversity and inclusion measures at the academy and said that they improved recruitment.

“The Academy strives to ensure all young people, especially those representing diversity in background, experiences, thought, career-focus, academic, and athletic interests are made aware of the Academy as an opportunity. This focus has proven a tremendous strength of U.S. Air Force Academy recruiting,” he said.

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