Does Uncle Sam Want You?
The U.S. Army estimates there are 32 million Americans within recruiting age, and they also estimate about 4.3 million of these young men and women are qualified potential recruits. Those who did not graduate from high school and failed to score in the top half on the military service aptitude test are not likely to be welcomed into military service. Enlistment is way down, but recruiters are still trying to cling to traditional standards. In light of nationwide obesity epidemics, many people between seventeen and twenty-four are not suitable material for military recruitment.
In 2006, the army's recruitment goal was 80,000 people; the combined services goal was about 180,000. Here are the army's concerns about today's young people — out of an estimated pool of 13.6 million citizens:
30 percent are high school dropouts and would not be the top choice in today's professional, all-volunteer, and increasingly high-tech Army.
30 percent of U.S. adults are considered obese.
There is a decline in physical fitness; one-third of teenagers are believed to be incapable of passing a treadmill test.
There is a widespread use of Ritalin and other drugs to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Potential recruits are not eligible for military service if they have taken such drugs in the past year.
Other potential recruits are rejected because they have criminal backgrounds and/or already have too many dependents.
That leaves a total of 6.6 million potential recruits from all people in the eligible age range. If none of the issues above relates to you, then Uncle Sam definitely wants you.