Propaganda, Politicization Making Military Service Less Popular

Matthew Lohmeier, a former military commander, told NTD that a big reason why the U.S. military is not able to meet its recruitment goals is because of the politicized environment in the army, with the military increasingly being used “to shape the political views of service members.”

NTD spoke to former Space Force Commander Matthew Lohmeier for his insight into the current malaise afflicting the U.S. military.




NTD Host

And there is one former military commander who says a big reason why they are not able to meet those goals is because of the politicized environment in the army. I got his take on things.

Matthew Lohmeier

Rather than share my views, I thought I would call a military veteran this morning who’s also a parent and a grandparent. Anticipating this question, I wanted to hear it from a veteran myself this morning and relate that to the American people.

So, fresh off the press this morning, I asked why is it that parents and veterans aren’t interested in recommending military service to the next generation?

His response was that when he served, the military was about fighting, and today it’s not. And in his view, he said, today it’s an environment filled with propaganda that is intended to shape the political views of service members. Then he finished his thought by saying it’s quite offensive.

I think that that line of reasoning is simple and it’s typical of your broader American population.

When I decided I wanted to serve in the military and attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado, I did so because I had both encouragement and wise counsel from parents and active duty and retired military veterans.

NTD Host

Now, can you talk more about what has changed? Because children of military families usually made up the majority of new recruits, so it seems like the sentiment was different a while back. So what happened?

Matthew Lohmeier

A big part of the answer to that question, and it’s also a part of the solution to the problem, is driven by this administration’s policy in particular and the current set of personalities we have in senior military leadership positions.

While the problem of partisan politics plagues the military from top to bottom, it is nevertheless driven by and supported by the current leadership.

I’ll give you a good example of this. We’ve got a Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Four star general, General C Q. Brown, who’s been Biden’s pick and nomination for the chairman of the Joint Chief’s role under the leadership, if you want to call it that, of General Mark Milley.

The American people have lost trust and confidence in him and in the institution writ large because of highly politicized statements of overt public criticism of the former Commander in Chief, President Trump, and because he’s leaked private conversations to journalists and authors to sell books.

There is a consternation and a division and a disagreement about what’s best for the readiness and lethality of the US military.

It will require a new administration at this point, it’s very clear. And it will require a whole cast of new senior military leaders who are willing to act in courage and to put down recent ways and to return to a patriotic, America loving, apolitical military work environment.

NTD Host

Thank you so much for giving those insights and also answering one of my following questions. Already I also want to look at another aspect because in the Military Family Support Programming Survey, they found other issues as well that I also wanted to give a bigger picture.

I want to present them to you here as well. So they were saying that the financial strain, for instance, is an issue.

And then there’s the argument that the Afghanistan withdrawal comes into play as well. So how do you weigh all these?

Matthew Lohmeier

Well, the Afghanistan withdrawal, first off, is a terrible black eye for the administration and our senior military leaders. It showed that it was likely due to highly misplaced priorities, that we made such a botched withdrawal.

Again, their testimony before Congress, which was public and which people who cared paid attention to, showed what looked like incompetence, what looked like infighting, what looked like disagreement with the sitting commander in chief.

No one willing to take responsibility for our actions, for our decisions, and for our lack of strategy. That’s why some people were fired for speaking up against our senior military leaders at the same time, because they demanded accountability, which clearly we didn’t have anymore in our senior military ranks.

As far as for financial reasons, let me say that always, traditionally or historically, men and women have been willing to serve in uniform, and parents have been willing to suggest to the next generation that they serve in uniform.

Despite the fact that pay is not great for military service members, some of our youngest enlisted members actually join because it will help pay for their associate’s degree or their bachelor degree. It helps them further their education.

So they serve for a minimum of maybe four years while they’re having their education paid for, and those incentives remain in place.

NTD Host

Well, thank you so much, Matthew Lohmeier, for giving us your aspect on this. I appreciate your time today.

Matthew Lohmeier

Thanks for having me.