The Army's recruiting of white soldiers has dropped significantly in the last half decade, according to internal data reviewed by Military.com, a decline that accounts for much of the service's historic recruitment slump that has become the subject of increasing concern for Army leadership and Capitol Hill.
The shift in demographics for incoming recruits would be irrelevant to war planners, except it coincides with an overall shortfall of about 10,000 recruits for the Army in 2023 as the service missed its target of 65,000 new soldiers. That deficit is straining the force as it has ramped up its presence in the Pacific and Europe: A smaller Army is taking on a larger mission and training workload than during the peak of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — leading to soldiers being away from home now more than ever.
A total of 44,042 new Army recruits were categorized by the service as white in 2018, but that number has fallen consistently each year to a low of 25,070 in 2023, with a 6% dip from 2022 to 2023 being the most significant drop. No other demographic group has seen such a precipitous decline, though there have been ups and downs from year to year.
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In 2018, 56.4% of new recruits were categorized as white. In 2023, that number had fallen to 44%. During that same five-year period, Black recruits have…