Initiatives such as the Navy Community Service Program link service member volunteers with their communities and could help introduce more young people to the military. (U.S. Navy / Glen Sircy)
There’s no debate that China and Russia are the two U.S. national competitors on the world stage today, with additional concerns about North Korea, Iran, global terrorism, cyber attacks, transnational criminals, and the opioid epidemic. There also is no question the United States has the economic wherewithal—in terms of equipment, material, ships, planes, technology, etc.—to confront its existential threats. But the one critical component our military depends on for its global leadership is people, the continuous flow of men and women who volunteer to serve in all branches of the armed forces. And therein is an enormous potential national security threat: Many young Americans are either unwilling or unqualified to serve.