(NewsReady.com) – The US military is having a major recruitment problem. After decades of conflicts, it seems young people aren’t as interested in joining the Armed Forces. The Navy came up with a controversial idea to try to recruit new members.
The US Navy launched a pilot program last year aimed at reaching a wider audience of possible recruits. The service branch has been using social media platforms like Instagram to expand its efforts. A spokesperson for the Navy spoke to The Daily Caller Foundation about the project, saying it’s meant to tackle the severe recruiting crisis.
One of the ways they have done that in recent months is by using Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley as a “Digital Ambassador.” He identifies as non-binary and performs as a drag queen named “Harpy Daniels” in his off time. Kelley has shared his journey in the military on both TikTok and Instagram. He was the first of five ambassadors for the pilot program that ran from October 2022 to March 2023.
US Navy appointed active-duty drag queen in diversity drive to boost sinking recruitment https://t.co/5EL8AbTm90 pic.twitter.com/55McVm02iz
— New York Post (@nypost) May 4, 2023
In an Instagram post last year, Kelley said since joining the Navy, he’s had an “unbelievable experience.” He said that he’d been able to tell his fellow sailors about his life and it brought him “so much strength, courage and ambition to continue being an advocate and representation of queer sailors.”
Fox News reported a spokesperson for the Navy said the program was meant to “explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates” during the recruitment crisis. They also were sure to point out that none of the ambassadors were compensated anything extra for their work throughout the campaign.
Some people were very angry when they learned about the program. Former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill, who was involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, lashed out on Twitter, saying he couldn’t “believe” he “fought for this [expletive].”
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