Is his assessment a bit harsh? Maybe. But there’s truth to it. And not just the Army is having a recruitment issue (some would say “crisis”). The Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are running into the same problems.
“Kids are playing video games, they’re…eating Cheetos…less participation in sports. I mean, if you could just go to a high school and look at a high schooler now compared to 20 years ago, it’s a different thing,” Kennedy says.“We weren’t, like, barely getting kids past obesity 20 years ago. Now in a high school, if you walk into a classroom half the kids are obese.”
The dwindling pool from which the Army—or any military branch—can pull from is getting smaller as time passes.
And due to the even more specialized nature of SOF (Special Operations Forces) training like the Army’s Green Berets and Rangers, the Navy’s SEALs and the Air Force Pararescue (“PJs”, short for “parajumper”)—the situation is becoming even more dire.
In fact, it’s so bad, that even officials outside the military see the weight (obesity, in truth) issue as a “looming” national security crisis. (Some 71% of young Americans are ineligible to serve in the armed forces—a third of them because they were overweight.)
The largest issue with Army recruitment is that their SOF (Green Berets and Rangers) are the main forces fighting ISIS the war on terrorism. This means the lack of candidates from which the Army can pull will hit them sooner and harder than the Navy or Air Force.
And the core of that issue is the United States may very well find it harder and harder (if not next to impossible) to disentangle itself from what are now being called the “forever wars” in Afghanistan.
Given the specialized nature of the Navy SEALs and the US Air Force’s PJs, we can’t simply turn to them to fill in the holes—especially since those branches are also having enormous difficulty finding young men and women fit and healthy enough to be recruited.
Another issue further crippling the obesity issue is that the generation currently of age for recruitment is showing a large decline in interest for serving in any branch of the military.
“We just need people like we’ve never needed them before,” Kennedy says. “It’s scary.”
QUESTION: Coach, I want to join the Air Force like my dad but the recruiter I went and saw said I need to lose 30 pounds before I can. Where do I start?
ANSWER: Join our SGPT Navy SEAL Mind and Body Coaching Program. You get daily workouts, health and fitness tips. You also get accountability from me and the other participants. You’ll be killing the PFT before you know it.
QUESTION: Coach, I do I all right with the physical parts of workouts (pull-ups, push-ups) but I struggle with the running. Got some tips?
ANSWER: Yes; check out this article: Tips to Improve Your Mile Run Time.
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