By Buddy Blouin
It’s no secret that the United States spends a lot of money on its military, but have you ever wondered how that gets done? Through laws, of course! We have a lot of money to distribute in our government, but without passing legislation, we’d have a lot of questions to answer about how it would be spent. The National Defense Authorization Act 2023 is going to set the tone about the budget for military expenditures, but there’s a lot more at stake than normal. At this moment, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 could play a major role in getting recruitment back on track as well as helping current military members survive an unusually high inflation rate.

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How the National Defense Authorization Act 2023 Affects Recruiting Goals

There are two main points about the National Defense Authorization Act 2023 that could affect the way the military recruits for its many branches:
  1. The U.S. military is a voluntary force. This means Uncle Sam has to get creative with incentives to join. Money is as good of a motivator as anyone can think of.
  2. Vaccine mandates have been a hot-button issue since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House recently passed a defense bill with more Taiwan and Ukraine security aid, but it's the increase in pay for current service members and the riddance of the vaccine mandate that's catching the attention of many. Now the measure needs to pass the Senate before it can be brought to the desk of President Joe Biden, who will sign the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act into law, but it's all but a done deal.

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We Need Volunteers

The recruitment woes of the U.S. military are far from a secret. There isn’t a singular issue but rather many different factors contributing to the discrepancies. Everything from generational values to incentives is on the table. This is why the National Defense Authorization Act 2023 has a chance to make a difference. First, let’s take a closer look at what the vaccine mandate could mean for the American Armed Forces:
  • Active-duty military members have had pay and benefits cut off and have even been kicked out of the military for refusing to comply.
  • Many believe that recruitment is hurting because people are wary about joining the U.S. military with a vaccine mandate in place.
Again, while it’s not a definite, overnight, or comprehensive fix, there's also no denying that there's room here to impact both current and future numbers of the troops serving our country. While the House passed a defense bill that rescinds military COVID vaccine mandates, the NDAA 2023 is also bringing pay raises to current military members. In fact, it’s the largest pay raise in 20 years with a 4.6% increase looking to fend off an inflation rate that has been much higher in 2022.

Will the National Defense Authorization Act 2023 Be Enough?

It’s one thing to deliver funding and make adjustments that align with your goals, but it’s another to do so in a manner that makes a difference. Many are wondering whether or not the NDAA 2023 will be enough, and upon closer inspection, these sentiments may deal with more than just pay.

Celebrated as the largest pay raise for military members in 20 years, the realities surrounding the need for the raise and the upcoming challenges our economy faces begin to humble this claim.

Purchasing power is down, and such a sizable increase in pay is necessary to help keep military households afloat during unsure economic times.

Volunteers looking to score a payday may also be enticed as inflationary pressures mount, but again, will this be enough to make a difference to recruits who are on the fence?

Furthermore, the lingering feelings about mandated vaccinations may be a wound that doesn’t heal quickly. Although 2020 feels like a fever dream, you don’t have to look too far back on past posts to your social media platform of choice to see that everyone did and does have strong feelings on the subject.

Regardless of how much of an impact the changes have, they’re still a welcomed sight to those who need an economic boost and maybe for those who can live with the possible risks of remaining unvaccinated.

No matter where you stand, here’s to hoping the U.S. military can do something about its recruitment goals as tensions ramp up around the world. The National Defense Authorization Act 2023 just may be the solution the American Armed Forces needs.

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