Workforce Readiness – The National Security Threat From Within
Military leaders urge further investments in health and education for Pennsylvania youth
While external threats to America’s national security are well-covered by headlines, few recognize the threat from within – the readiness of America’s youth.
Our country’s thriving economy is creating fierce competition for qualified individuals among all employment sectors including our Armed Forces. This tight labor market is complicating the U.S. Army’s plan to grow the active duty force to 500,000 troops. It also contributed to the Army missing its 2018 recruiting goal by 8.5 percent, or about 6,500 recruits, while the Army National Guard and Reserve missed its 2018 goal by a combined 17,000 recruits.
This problem is compounded by the fact that 71 percent of youth between the ages of 17 and 24 would not meet the military’s core eligibility requirements due to inadequate education, obesity or other disqualifying health condition, or having a record of crime or substance use. Of the remaining 29 percent who would qualify, only 17 percent would be qualified and available for active duty, and 13 percent would qualify, be available, and achieve a satisfactory score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.