Blog | Press Release | September 21, 2018

Mission: Readiness Members React to New U.S. Army Recruitment Data

Retired generals and admirals deeply concerned by data that shows Army will miss its 2018 recruitment goal by 6,500 soldiers

The retired generals and admirals of Mission: Readiness are deeply concerned by data released on September 21 that shows the Army will miss its 2018 recruitment goal by 6,500 soldiers.

Speaking on behalf of the 750 members of Mission: Readiness, retired Army four-star general and Mission: Readiness member Stanley McChrystal responded to the Army’s announcement:

“While there are many factors impacting the current recruiting climate, rising obesity rates continue to be a leading medical reason that the military cannot access a robust pool of eligible recruits. The fact that one in three Americans is too overweight to serve in the military exposes a failure of our society to prioritize the health and fitness of our children. Make no mistake, this is a threat to our national security. To protect our nation and ensure that our military has the ability to recruit adequate forces, we must do more to prevent and address childhood obesity.”

Former Chief of the National Guard Bureau and Mission: Readiness member Frank J. Grass, also a retired four-star Army general, added:

“These numbers are disappointing, but not surprising. During my tenure as Chief of the National Guard Bureau, I saw the recruiting crisis worsen despite the good efforts of hardworking Army recruiters. The facts are clear – most young Americans today are unable to serve in uniform and this trend will hinder the military’s ability to respond to complex challenges. Whether it is keeping Americans safe from foreign threats or responding to natural disasters here at home, America needs a military that is ready and willing to answer the call.”

On October 10, Mission: Readiness will release a new report titled “Unhealthy and Unprepared,” which will detail how childhood obesity is perpetuating our military’s recruitment crisis and how our national security depends on encouraging healthy lifestyles from an early age.

Mission: Readiness members have worked to sound the alarm about the national security threat posed by child obesity for nearly a decade. Our members have played a critical role in advancing state and federal policies to provide access to healthier school meals and increased physical activity, but understand that more work needs to be done. Lawmakers must urgently focus on prioritizing policies that will prepare children to lead active and productive lives, whether they choose to join the military or not. The future security of our nation depends on it.


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