A recent report in military news site Task & Purpose highlights that military recruitment could soon slump nationwide in large part because America’s youth are too fat or in other cases too dumb to fight.
Going back a number of years this has been an increasing concern expressed by a growing chorus of both active and retired military leaders. It was also weeks ago expressed in a Dec.17 letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller signed by almost 800 retired admirals and generals.
They warn that over 70% of young Americans between 17 and 24 can’t make into military ranks because they are “too poorly educated, too overweight, or have a history of crime or substance abuse.”
The bipartisan group that penned the letter is urging the Pentagon to create a strategy to address the growing crisis. “Without coordinated action, these trends pose a significant threat to the future of the all-volunteer force,” the letter said.
Identifying some of the same trends, Navy Recruiting Command chief Rear Adm. Dennis Velez recently separately told Military.com that making making sure “our children are healthier” is urgently needed to divert a national crisis.
Certain fitness and weight standards are required to even attempt to enter the armed services, with requirements determined by the particular branch – with the Marine Corps maintaining the strictest entry requirements.
Further the head of the Marine Corps recruiting was also quoted as follows:
Maj. Gen. Jason Bohm, the head of Marine Corps Recruiting Service, said far fewer than 30% of young people are eligible to serve in that branch.
“If you break it down further into those skill sets, intelligence level, and the physical ability level, those that we’re looking toward bringing into the Marine Corps… quickly decreases to about 7%,” he said.
“That’s enormously challenging.”
For years the bipartisan group “Mission: Readiness” has highlighted the lack of health among America’s youth, potentially impacting national security on a long-term basis:
New Infographic: Unfit to Serve: #Obesity is Impacting National Security https://t.co/02When6NGp via @CDCObesity #health #military pic.twitter.com/mRUPGyah9y
— Mission: Readiness (@Mission_Ready) May 18, 2017
For the foreseeable future the trend is likely to continue, given how the pandemic related lockdowns and social distancing orders for much of the past year have often resulted in canceled youth sports leagues, a reduction in social outdoor activities, and people generally being shut in their homes for longer periods.