Declining Quality of Youth Is Making Army Recruitment Difficult

The Army recruitment goal had to be lowered because it is getting difficult to find qualified youth.

The fact that army recruitment is getting more difficult may not concern some people. But no matter what you think about the ideal number of active duty soldiers, one of the reasons for the decline in Army recruitment has got to concern everyone: a decline in quality of potential recruits. While a better economy and lower unemployment is part of the challenge for the Army, the other part is young people who have been using marijuana, scoring low on tests, have health issues, and other problems.

If the army is facing such problems, then to some degree so is everyone else. Private employers, colleges, police forces, hospitals, are all struggling to find competent, capable, healthy people. If Army recruitment is suffering from declining quality of youth, we are all suffering or soon will be.

The Associated Press reports, “Army lowers 2017 recruiting goal; more soldiers staying on.

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Maj. Gen. Jeff Snow [….] predicted late last year that the higher enlistment goal would be difficult to meet, considering economic factors and the military’s need for recruits to pass strict physical testing that many young people can’t complete.

“This mission is going to be a significant challenge […],” he told The Associated Press-. Meeting the increased mission this year, Snow said, could force the Army to take in more recruits who would require waivers for marijuana use, low test scores or other more basic health issues.

Asked if the Army has approved more waivers so far this year, Esper and Dailey said they didn’t know totals. […]

“The numbers don’t tell the whole story,” Dailey said, adding that waivers require the Army to take a closer look at a recruit who may have had a legal problem when they were younger, smoked pot, or has had some type of heath problem. The issue could range from simple colorblindness to an arrest.


Military leaders have increasingly warned of recruiting challenges, noting that lower unemployment, a strong economy, and the declining quality of the youth market have steadily shrunk the number of young people considered eligible […].

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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