By Christi Ham, Washington Examiner
Recently, the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service held its first meeting. Established by Congress in 2016, the Commission is tasked, among other things, with making recommendations by 2020 on how to increase Millennial participation in our armed forces.
The commission’s creation comes at an important time. After years of contracting, our military is being asked to expand to meet challenges around the world.
However, our armed forces are facing their own challenges in finding men and women who are either qualified to serve or want to stay in the military. In many cases, this revolves around our country’s education system.
In the case of new recruits, it is estimated that only about 25 percent of Americans aged 17-24 meet the current requirements to serve.
While a substantial number of these potential recruits are disqualified for other reasons – obesity, drug use, or criminal records – a significant number fail to meet the military’s educational requirements.
Earlier this decade, the Education Trust looked at the results of the Army’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), the test the Army requires all recruits to take as a condition of enlistment. It found that more than one in five young people interested in enlisting “did not meet the minimum eligibility standard required by the Army.”
This is important because military careers have provided generations of Americans with pathways to successful adult lives. Unfortunately, too many high school graduates who seek the opportunity to serve don’t make the cut. For these young Americans, a high school diploma doesn’t qualify them to “be all that you can be.”
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