As you can imagine, this country and our military has changed quite a bit since September 11, 2001. That terrible day shifted the United States of America’s dynamic, and day-to-day way of thinking. Our citizens, though horrified, scared, and heartbroken, were able to unite with a new and heightened sense of patriotism. Even more specifically than just our country and its citizens, our military’s dynamic shifted as well.
In the years that have followed September 11, 2001, many changes have been made to our country’s military. These changes come from all areas: budget, demographics, size, veteran benefits, etc.
I am sure you are sitting there reading this and thinking to yourself, military enlistment and recruitment was the first and quickest change. In actuality, our military recruitment did not surge in the years immediately following September 11th. For example, though the Army was able to meet its recruitment goals in 2001 and the year following, by 2005 they fell short of their goals. Our Air Force did not meet their recruitment goals either. There was a post-attack surge of recruitment, but that quickly faded. Since more time has passed since that horrible attack on our country, the military and its enlistment has seen much more growth.
Though since 2001 many recruits have cited ‘patriotism’ as a main reason for joining, our country’s weakened economy actually played a strong role. Our military branches began meeting and, exceeding their recruitment goals and these recruits are actually made up of better-qualified and higher educated personnel. Why? The economy provided for less and less jobs for young people, and the military offered a steady job.
The role of women in our military and war efforts have also shifted post-9/11. Previously banned from direct combat operations, they have since served in combat. Some have even been awarded various military medals for valor. It has been said that some “women are performing as well as their male peers” and that the military needs those women doing those jobs.
Another post 9/11 change was the updated GI Bill. This allowed for coverage on full tuition and necessary fees for all public universities and colleges for all those who have served at least 90 days of service since September 11, 2001. It has continued to expand and offer more and more benefits, especially under the new administration.
In the decade following that terrible day, our military spending surged 50%. Not only did the spending increase, but over 50 percent of Americans were in favor of increased spending following 9/11. The United States has spent, or taken on spending obligations, for greater than $3.6 trillions on the war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and our Department of Homeland Security.
Since 9/11 our military has become much more battle-tested. Their ability to engage in missions and operate more logically and sufficiently has continued to develop through hands on experience and more extensive training. This has helped the U.S military to prove not only its adaptability, but develop its resilience against any new or potential conflicts.
Additionally, the U.S. Special Operations forces has actually grown, and continues to grow, by the tens of thousands. This is a great example of cooperation and how it has been able to grow and develop throughout our military services and branches. This force includes various specialized combat personnel and reconnaissance personnel from all branches.
Since September 11, 2001, our country’s veteran community has continued to grow. Each and every man and woman has sacrificed for this great country. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping every single veteran. It is our mission to holistically enhance the quality of life of all veterans and their families, providing them with direct service and fostering an environment of camaraderie and goodwill among combat wounded veterans. You too can show your support for our heroes by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure our veterans continue to get the support and benefits they both need and deserve.