November 9, 2009
Too Few Youths Eligible for Military, Leaders Say
Report Recommends Investments in Early Childhood Programs
By Dakarai I. Aarons
The United States should invest in early education to help bolster the number of young people eventually eligible to serve in the military and protect national-security interests, a report released last week argues.
A majority of the nation’s young adults are ineligible for military service because they have not graduated from high school, have criminal records, or are physically unfit, says the report.
Based on research from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the report says 75 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24—about 26 million people—are ineligible to join the military.
“A quality education is really an issue of national security,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at a Nov. 5 news conference held to release the report. “If we don’t educate our children well, we put our nation at risk.” ...