Free college promises intensify military recruitment crisis

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In our nation’s past, veterans who have honorably served were rewarded for their service with a variety of benefits, including free college under the GI Bills. Members of the military also were empowered to get their education while actively serving through other programs like military tuition assistance. 

However, calls today for free college have done more to harm the military than help it.

Moreover, given the nation’s historic recruiting crisis, promises of free college for all are only deepening one of the more powerful incentives for military service. Our military is increasingly becoming an afterthought to the next generation, stoking the fires of a burgeoning national security crisis. 

A student listens to a U.S. Marine recruiter during a presentation on campus at Rutgers University, Dec. 1, 2005, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we not only fight radicalization throughout our nation, but also help secure America’s next generation of warfighters.


Let us first look at the problem facing our nation’s military. Excluding the Marine Corps and the Space Force – the youngest branch of the service – every other branch embarrassingly missed their recruiting goals this past fiscal year. 

Policymakers continue to debate the true cause for the paradigm affecting the three largest branches

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