Only 1 In 4 Youths Good Enough To Enlist In The Military

From Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve, a report by Mission Readiness, a group run by retired generals and admirals:

The Pentagon reports that 75 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 cannot join the United States military – 26 million young Americans. …

Three Crucial Reasons Why Young Americans Cannot Join the Military:

Although there may be multiple reasons why an individual is ineligible to serve in the military, the three biggest problems are that too many young Americans are poorly educated, involved in crime, or physically unfit.

Inadequate education: Approximately one out of four young Americans lacks a high school diploma. Students who have received a general equivalency degree (GED) can sometimes receive a waiver if they score well enough on the military’s entrance exam. However, most of those who dropped out and obtained a GED instead of a regular degree do not possess sufficient math or reading skills to qualify.

Not only are too many young people failing to graduate, many of those who do graduate still lack the academic skills necessary to take their place alongside others in the workforce or in the military.

The “Nation’s Report Card,” the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), reports that in 2007, 69 percent of the nation’s eighth graders scored below proficiency level in math, and 70 percent scored below proficiency level in reading.

Even with a high school degree, many potential recruits still fail the Armed Forces Qualification Test (the AFQT) and cannot join. The test is used by the military to determine math and reading skills. About 30 percent of potential recruits with a high school degree take the test and fail it.

Criminality: One in 10 young adults cannot join because they have at least one prior conviction for a felony or serious misdemeanor (and for five percent of young adults, trouble with the law is the only thing keeping them out). …

Physically unfit: 27 percent of young Americans are too overweight to join the military. Many are turned away by recruiters and others never try to join. Of those who attempt to join, however, roughly 15,000 young potential recruits fail their entrance physicals every year because they are too heavy.

The percentage of Americans who are not just overweight but actually obese has risen rapidly. The rate of obesity among American adults has more than doubled over the past four decades, with one in three adults being obese. So, the number of enlistment-age young adults who cannot join the military because of weight problems – currently 27 percent nationally – is likely to continue to rise in the next few years.

Nearly a third (32 percent) of all young people have health problems – other than their weight – that will keep them from serving. Many are disqualified from serving for asthma, eyesight or hearing problems, mental health issues, or recent treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

When weight problems are added in with the other health problems, over half of young adults cannot join because of health issues. Additional young people are not eligible to join because of drug or alcohol problems.

Even when recruits qualify, health problems can cause significant deployment and expense problems later; for example, 20 percent of the Army’s reservists arrived at mobilization sites with dental conditions that made them non-deployable.

Additional reasons beyond education, crime, and physical fitness: Other young people are not eligible to join because they are too tall, too short, or have other non-medical reasons making them ineligible. For example, single parents with custody of a child cannot join. The cut-off points for different service branches vary on many standards.

Not surprisingly, the words “demographic” and “change” don`t appear in the report.

Here are the states that are not worse than average on at any of the three measures of obesity, dropout rate, or criminality: Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Here are the states that are worse than average on all three measures: Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

That`s interesting that “About 30 percent of potential recruits with a high school degree take the test and fail it.” I don`t think that`s saying that 30 percent of all high school graduates would fail the AFQT, which would mean you`d need an IQ of about 100 to qualify to enlist. I think it`s saying that of those high school graduates who take the test, 30% score below the cutoff. High school graduates who hope to enlist in the military are probably somewhat below the average high school graduate. Still, from 1992-2004, the Pentagon took virtually no enlistees who scored below the 30th percentile in IQ.

Not surprisingly, the solutions proposed are ones close to the heart of the Obamaites controlling the pursestrings today: More Preschool Spending!

It`s like what I keep saying: The Obama Age is heading toward a consensus that the only solution for NAMs is roughly the same as the Australian and Canadian governments came up with for indigenous people about 80 years ago, and for which they are continually apologizing today: Take the children away from their families as much as possible.

I suspect that a couple of generations from now, the U.S. government will issue an official apology to NAMs for the policy for the Stolen Generations of 2010-2030, and will assert that this explains their continued underperformance in the late 21st Century.