The most critical path to our future is the Warrior, who is more important than everything else in our readiness to fight and win.
The All-Volunteer force, introduced in the 1970s, has provided the smartest, most capable, and most highly motivated fighting force in the history of mankind. It is the same across all our military services.
Yet, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit the numbers needed.
This is not because young people lack the desire to serve. The challenge is that too few of our young citizens are qualified to serve.
In 1991, when I retired from active duty, only 50 percent of our nation’s young people—ages 17 to 24—were considered eligible for military service as officers or enlisted.
This was based on enlistment standards set by the military to ensure recruits would be competent to serve in our increasingly sophisticated military environment. Reasons for this lack of eligibility ranged from academic achievement to physical ability, to medical problems, drug use, and criminal records.