An organization comprised of hundreds of retired general officers is once again sounding the alarm on the state of America’s youth.
Mission: Readiness, a bipartisan organization of 750 retired generals and admirals, released its latest report last week, detailing the dire straits facing military recruiters.
According to the report, titled “Unhealthy and Unprepared,” an estimated 71% of all young people in the U.S. between the ages of 17 and 24 do not qualify for military service.
Obesity disqualifies about 31% of youth, the report specified.
In North Carolina, an estimated 72% of the population is ineligible to join the military, due to being overweight, lacking adequate education or having a history of crime or drug use.
The new report was unveiled Wednesday by a group of retired officers and Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, the commanding general of U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
Retired Lt. Gen. Samuel Ebbesen said Mission: Readiness has been warning the country about the impact of obesity on national security for nearly a decade. He said acting now to address the issue was critical to the nation’s future defense.
“We know that the military cannot solve this problem on its own,” added retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr. “Children as young as 2 are experiencing rising obesity rates, and these rates increase with age. This demonstrates the need for obesity prevention beginning very early in life and continuing through high school and beyond.”
“Unhealthy and Unprepared” advocates for programs that promote healthy eating and physical activity, both at school and at home. Officials said healthy lifestyles must be encouraged early in life.
The report paints a bleak picture of the state of the nation’s youth and said the ineligibility of potential recruits was a large reason the Army failed to meet its recruitment goal last year.
The report notes that of the remaining 29% of eligible youth, only 17% would qualify for active duty. And only 13% would achieve a satisfactory score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
And while the recruitable population declines, so too is interest in military service.
Last year, just 11% of 16- to 24-year-olds said they would definitely or probably serve in the military in the coming ears. That is down from 13% in 2016.
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
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President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."