- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2020

A group of retired military leaders is warning the Pentagon that most of America’s youth is too out of shape to defend the nation.

The organization, known as “Mission Readiness” wants the Pentagon to help set up an interagency committee to address what it considers the nation’s military recruiting crisis.

They recently sent a letter to acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, urging him to work with heads of other relevant federal departments and agencies to take a “holistic approach” to addressing issues ultimately impacting the ability of the military to recruit personnel.

According to the Department of Defense, 71 percent of young Americans are unable to serve in uniform, largely due to obesity, drug abuse, a poor education or a crime record.

“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 their letter.

“Without coordinated actions, these trends pose a significant threat to the future of the all volunteer force,” they wrote.

The group of retired generals and admirals said an interagency advisory committee — made up of executive branch departments such as Justice, Education and Agriculture — could create a long-term strategy to address the issue and ensure more young Americans are able to join the military.

“We believe this is a critical step to the sustainability of the all-volunteer force and critical for our future strength and national security,” Gen. Fraser and Adm. Loy wrote in their letter.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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