The military is facing a manpower crisis. A lack of education, poor health or physical fitness, and a history of criminality have made most young Americans unable to serve in the military. Thomas Spoehr and Bridget Handy write:
According to 2017 Pentagon data, 71 percent of young Americans between 17 and 24 are ineligible to serve in the United States military. Put another way: Over 24 million of the 34 million people of that age group cannot join the armed forces—even if they wanted to. This is an alarming situation which threatens the country’s fundamental national security. If only 29 percent of the nation’s young adults are even qualified to serve, and these negative trends continue, it is inevitable that the U.S. military will suffer from a lack of manpower.
[Thomas Spoehr and Bridget Handy, “The Looming National Security Crisis: Young Americans Unable to Serve in the Military,” The Heritage Foundation, February 13]