Military Service – A Nation Ineligible

With all of the talk recently about concerns over the potential lowering of standards for women to attend Ranger school, it should come as a surprise that when it comes to standards, our nation’s largest problem is ourselves.

In a recent report, 75% of Americans aged 17-24 are unable to join the military due to an inability to meet the standards. The top three failed standards are a failure to graduate high school, police record, and failure to make height and weight standards.

This is a systematic failure which has long term effects on military service in the future. It reduces the capability of our nation to respond to threats. It puts to question our ability to call up large numbers of individuals in a time of need. It makes us realize that being part of the less than 1% of civilians who joins the military, the divide is continuing to widen.

These problems are compounded by the clustering of issues in locations. Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio had the lowest reported graduation rates from high schools nationwide in 2005-2006, with rates varying from 39% to 47%. As large cities with high levels of youths, their under-representation in the military means that their positive impact and experiences will be lost on future generations of service members.

Almost 1 in 10 adults has a felony conviction or serious misdemeanor.
Almost 1 in 10 adults has a felony conviction or serious misdemeanor.

Nearly one in 10 adults has a felony conviction or serious misdemeanor on their record. For many, these actions will exclude them from military service for the remainder of their lives. During the surge in Iraq between 2006 and 2007, the lowering of standards allowed many people with police records to receive moral waivers and join the service. While service members were needed at the time, the second and third order effects would not be felt until many years later when many of these waivered individuals were separated for conduct during service, a large cost to organizational energy.

Finally, approximately 27% of Americans are simply medically unfit for service. This includes pre-existing conditions, injuries, and obesity. Over the last 40 years, the rates for obesity have more than doubled in the United States with one in three Americans being overweight.

It should be a disturbing sign of the direction the country is going when the vast majority cannot join their country’s military. That they do not meet the standards is not a reason to lower the standards, but to work to improve our nation as a whole. The changes need to start early, and be inclusive. Although correlation is not causation, high school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than high school graduates and 8% more likely to be incarcerated.

There are many conflicting priorities for people and not all of them place high school graduation at the top of their goals. By emphasizing this, we can start to reduce the number of ineligible civilians, while also affecting the bottom line when it comes to crime and incarceration here in the United States. Our priorities should be two-fold, a capable and effective nation able to defend itself when necessary, and an intelligent citizenry able to positively give back to their community as a whole.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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3 thoughts on “Military Service – A Nation Ineligible

  1. When I joined the Army in 1973, I just barely met the height/weight requirements; Vietnam was still “hot” though, so there may have been a bit of fudging. However, during Basic, I lost 30 pounds. Don’t sell short a Drill Sergeant’s ability to motivate young civilians and turn them into young soldiers who meet or exceed the standards. I stayed in eight years, eight months, and some very odd days, and left as a Staff Sergeant.

  2. I can see being a little more liberal when it comes to people with existing injuries, just have them sign a waiver and if they can’t do their job because of that existing injury then you boot them and they forfeit their benefits. Its just that simple, i’m someone who had injuries/surgeries and needed to sign a waiver; if i happen to not be able to perform my duties because of my existing issues and they kick me out because of it, i have no problem with that. I know i served my country to the best of my ability.
    But if they lower the physical standards just because someone is over-weight/obese then thats a damn joke… just because the country is becoming a bunch of lazy slobs, doesn’t mean our military has to become a bunch of lazy slobs as well!

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