‘You Need Straight White Guys to Die For You Again?’ U.S. Army Scraps ‘Woke’ Ads, Fails to Meet Recruiting Goals

A new ad campaign from the U.S. Army suggests the military might be ditching identity politics in the face of a historic recruiting crisis. The armed forces have made headlines in recent years for pushing social justice and LGBTQ messaging in its recruiting ads, but now appears to be reversing course. The Army was 15,000 recruits short of its annual goal in 2022, prompting a change in messaging.

A new recruiting ad released on Wednesday follows the history of the U.S. Army. In cinematic fashion, the narrator takes the viewer through the dramatic battles of the Revolutionary War and the World Wars, highlighting themes of perseverance. The ad campaign is a resurrection of the “be all you can be” slogan from the recruiting efforts of the 80s and 90s.

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In an interview, Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, told the Daily Caller that the shift away from ‘woke’ messaging in recruiting ads is intentional. “[The army] forgot that the primary market for Army recruiting is young men from traditional families, looking for a challenge,” Donnelly said. The Center reported that the military’s previous ad campaigns were alienating to conservative families that used to comprise the military’s recruiting base.

In 2021, the Army ran ads to try and promote a more “diverse” hiring pool, featuring a lesbian wedding and a soldier at an LGBTQ pride parade. Earlier that year, the CIA ran an ad featuring a new, anxiety-riddled recruit who described herself as an “intersectional cisgender millennial.”

“Last year’s recruiting crisis was partially fueled by that colossal mistake,” Donnelly told the Daily Caller.

“Lmfao the only ad I’ve ever seen in like, the last decade depicting white men positively and it’s to entice us into signing up to die in their wars for nothing,” YouTuber John Doyle said in response to the new ad.

“You need straight white guys to die for you again? Where are all your lesbian POCs you’ve been pandering to the last couple years?” Podcast host Elijah Schaffer tweeted to Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. “Quotas not working out?”

Wormuth responded to critics of the Army’s identity politics in 2022, saying, “I’m not sure what woke means; I think woke means a lot of different things to different people. But first of all, I would, if woke means, you know, we are not focused on warfighting, we are not focused on readiness, that doesn’t reflect what I see.”

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But last week, Wormuth acknowledged that the military has failed to entice recruits. In a CNN report, she called her recruiting objectives for this year “a stretch goal.” She hopes to get 65,000 Americans in uniform this year– 5,000 more than last year.

As tensions between the U.S. and Russia increase over the Ukraine War, fears have also increased among Americans that the country may be drawn into a conflict. In February, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters that if his country fell, then Americans might be forced to deploy and fight Russia. “The U.S. will have to send their sons and daughters, exactly the same way as we are sending our sons and daughters to war… And they will be dying, God forbid, because it’s a horrible thing.”

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