3 in 4 American Youth Are ineligible For the Military Due to Obesity, Crime and Drug Use, Retired Officers Warn

Brittany M. Hughes | December 28, 2020
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Nearly three-quarters of American youth are ineligible to serve in the military due to being overweight, undereducated, or having a criminal or drug history.

That’s according to a letter signed by a group of retired military leaders and sent to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller warning that the state of American youth could leave the country vulnerable thanks to a deficit in people able to defend it.

According to them, data shows that 71 percent of young Americans are unable to serve in the military due to obesity, drug abuse, a poor education or a criminal record. These problems could make it difficult for the military to recruit new members.

“These factors largely fall outside of the Department of Defense’s purview but have an immense impact on the ability of the military to recruit new servicemembers as well as a significant monetary impact on the Department [of Defense],” retired Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser and retired Coast Guard Adm. James M. Loy wrote in the letter, saying that “these trends pose a significant threat to the future of the all volunteer force.”

The group is requesting the DoD assemble a committee to discuss how to address these problems among American youth to ensure there are enough young people eligible to defend the country.