Can They Serve?

Undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness Clifford Stanley told lawmakers last week that, although recruiting has been good, that may not persist given the fact that “much of the contemporary youth population is currently ineligible to serve” in the military. The primary reasons he cited were obesity (about 35 percent), followed by drug or alcohol abuse (18 percent) and, lumped together at 23 percent, criminal misbehavior, too many dependents for entry rank, or low test scores. Air Force officials have expressed similar concern about the dwindling youth pool. The good news, according to data in Stanley’s written testimony, is that USAF still attracts the cream of this slim crop; 84 percent of potential USAF recruits scored at or above the 50th percentile of the Armed Forces Qualification Test, with the Navy nearest at 78 percent.