Only in Hollyweird cartoon world is the United States a potent military presence in terms of the quality of its personnel recruiting pool. The country would be well advised to abandon all neocon pretenses and foreign military adventures. The reality is in stark contrast and speaks to the truth about the American gutless wonder. According to 2017 Pentagon data, 71 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are ineligible to serve in the military. That’s 24 million of the 34 million people of that age group.
“I would argue that the next existential threat we have,” Army Major Gen. Malcolm Frost, the commander of the Army’s Initial Military Training Command, said, “is the inability to man our military.”
The main causes of this situation are inadequate education, criminality, health and obesity.
A legendary West Point “tank study” (good link) from the 1980s showed that smarter tank gunners are actually more-accurate tank gunners. In effect, smarter soldiers are better soldiers. It’s not simply that smarter recruits are more capable of operating sophisticated weapons systems (like the F-35). They’re better fighters, too, which is, after all, the whole point.
Marine Corps Recruiting Command Major Gen. Mark Brilakis, said, “There are 30-some million 17 to 24 year olds out there, but by the time you get all the way down to those that are qualified, you’re down to less than a million young Americans.” Of those, only one in eight actually want to join the military.
To join the armed forces, the military across all branches requires that an individual have a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). This qualification ensures that recruits possess a minimum level of education, including a basic understanding of written and cognitive skills.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that in the 2014–2015 school year, “the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students rose to 83 percent.”
However, dropout expert Julian Vasquez Heilig said that “the only people who believe it’s [over] 80 percent are probably the politicians who are telling us that.” In addition to other shortcomings, this statistic from the NCES does not account for lowered graduation standards.
Among those high school “graduates,” 30 percent failed to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test (the AFQT).
In certain demographics there are virtually no proficient students.
- “13 Baltimore High Schools Have Zero Students That Are Proficient In Math“
- “Appalling Performance of Public Schools Exposed By Project Baltimore: Solution is Garveyism“
According to the 2009 Mission Readiness report, criminality prevents one of every 10 young adults from being able to join the armed forces. That means that 3.4 million people who would otherwise make the cut are unable to join. For many, these patterns of crime that disqualify them from the military begin early in their youth.
The U.S. Department of Justice reported in 2015 that nearly 1 million juveniles have been arrested [U.S. Department of Justice, “Statistical Briefing Book,” March 27, 2017; https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05101.asp].
The National Institute of Justice, citing The Pittsburgh Youth Study, stated that “52 to 57 percent of juvenile delinquents continue to offend up to age 25.”
The opioid epidemic is a public health emergency — and it predominantly occurs among that same age group.
- “Threat to Whites: The Opioid Plague“
- “Opioids Are Responsible for 20% of Millennial Deaths, ‘Crisis Will Impact US For Generations’“
“The obesity issue is the most troubling because the trend is going in the wrong direction,” Gen. Milley said in 2015. “By 2020, it could be as high as 50%, which means only two in 10 would qualify to join the Army.” The trend out to 2025 and 2030 is nearly parabolic.
Another 32 percent of the young-adult population cannot join the military for health concerns other than obesity. These issues include asthma, hearing and eyesight problems, autism and mental illness. Combined with weight issues, the number of 17 to 24 year olds who cannot join the military for health reasons exceeds half that age group. In numbers, that means more than 17 million young adults are disqualified from military service due to health issues.
The situation is bad even among current active military, according to a 2018 RAND report. It painted a grim picture of the military’s physical fitness and sleep standards. The study, featuring roughly 18,000 randomly selected participants across each of the service branches, showed that almost 66 percent of service members are considered to be either overweight or obese, based on the military’s use of body mass index as a measuring standard.
In terms of problematic sleeping patterns, 59 percent of soldiers reported getting less sleep than needed, and 33 percent answered that the lack of sleep contributed to being regularly bothered by an energy deficiency. What happens in actual war combat conditions?
Moreover, West Point noted in 2017 that the future of war will rely more on mental rather than physical fitness.
MODERN WAR INSTITUTE AT WEST POINT: There will always remain a central place for brute strength and superior physical fitness in warfare, of course. But future wars between nation-states are going to be decided by which side can best protect its infrastructure, command-and-control capabilities, cyberspace, and assets in outer space (e.g., satellites, etc.). Future battlefields will entail “less sweat, more sit.” Hence, the United States will need more personnel with the cognitive acumen to deal with electronic threats and other intangible problems that arise in different battlefield domains, which cannot be solved solely through excellent physical fitness.
If recent YouGov polls are any indication, the New Underworld Order’s feminization campaign for American men is bearing fruit.
Americans were asked to rate themselves on a scale of 0 to 6, where 0 is “completely masculine” and 6 is “completely feminine.” Interestingly, 65 percent of limping, crotchity, low-T old-timer men over the age of 65 said that they are “completely masculine,” whereas only 28 percent of men ages 30 to 44 and 30 percent of men ages 18 to 29 said the same.
Among those under 30, some 13 percent put themselves halfway between masculine and feminine, while 12 percent said that they are at least slightly feminine.
Only 4 percent of those over 65 said that they are all feminine.
The Heritage Foundation reports and the Pentagon freely admits that the Army — more than any other service — has has been frittered away by years of boogeyman counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“For the past 17 years,” according to former Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, “the Army bore the brunt of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For over a decade, we postponed modernization to procure equipment tailored to counter insurgency operations.”
One might suspect someone was deliberately wrecking the U.S. as a nation and its military. Brigade and division capabilities were reduced and realigned to facilitate COIN warfare. Combat Training Center rotations focused almost exclusively on COIN scenarios.
Is the U.S. prepared for asymmetrical warfare and small drones?
- “Houthis Write the Book on Asymmetrical Warfare“
- “The Van Riper Gambit: Iran Scores Against Expensive High-Tech US Gadgetry“
In March 2019, Gen. Milley assessed that only 28 of the Army’s 58 Total Army BCTs (48 percent) had reached the highest readiness levels.
Historical evidence shows that, on average, the Army needs 21 brigade combat teams to fight one major regional conflict. Given the poor emplacement pool, how would the Army replace combat losses in these units if seriously engaged?
The Army is using equipment designed primarily in the 1970s, fielded in the 1980s and incrementally upgraded since then. For example, inferior artillery.
According to its 2019 aviation plan, the USMC currently fields 16 tactical fighter squadrons, compared to 19 in FY 2017 and around 28 during Desert Storm.
The Marines are fully ready for one major regional conflict. Only a third of the force — the deployed force — could be considered fully ready.
- Two-MRC Level: 36 battalions.
- Actual 2018 Level: 24 battalions.
The Air Force needs quite high standards. The service is 2,000 pilots short.
Winter Watch Takeaway
One can easily imagine that America’s foes are fully engaged in opening up at least a two major regional-conflict strategy. One conflict auto triggers a stretched thin second. If war opens up in Iran, look for Russia and/or China to become very aggressive in another theater. This probably is the real reason the U.S. is retreating in Syria. As the U.S. can spare few combat-ready soldiers and pilot losses, personnel attrition (the General Grant strategy) would also be deployed against the US to draw down ready combat units and quickly bring about qualitative impairments.